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A review: drilling performance and hole quality of aluminium alloys for aerospace applications

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Despite the growth of composites and other lightweight materials, aluminium alloys remain an attractive choice of the aerospace industry due to their mature manufacturing processes, good resistance to fatigue crack growth and superior damage tolerance. In the aerospace industry, the drilling process is the most challenging among all the other machining process as millions of holes are required for producing riveted and bolted joints in the assembly operation of the aircraft's structures. The major challenges which arise from the drilling of these alloys are characterized by the poor hole quality which might initiate cracks within the airframe structure and reduces their reliability. This results in the rejection of parts at the assembly stage which directly impacts the manufacturing cost. Hence, appropriate selection of tool geometry, tool material and coatings, optimal cutting speed and feed rate, as well as drilling machines, is required to meet the requirement of machined parts. This motivates both academia and industries to further research on the application of drilling operations in the aircraft industry. This review aims to document details on drilling forces, drilling parameters, drill tool geometry, drill materials and coatings, chips formation, analysis of tool wear and hole metrics such as the hole size and circularity error, surface roughness, and burrs formation during the drilling of different aluminium alloys used in the aerospace industry. The focus will be mainly on Al2024 and Al7075 alloys since they are most commonly used and reported in the open literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12484-12500
JournalJournal of Materials Research and Technology
Volume9
Issue number6
Early online date18 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 18 Sep 2020

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