Aerospace and Graphite
At first you would not really think to put the two together as working partners. Yes…. They are. Graphite is used in the aerospace industry for a wide variety of applications. Heat Treating Synthetic graphite is used as engineered material to create precision machined plates, posts, nuts and bolts along with heating elements and fixtures used in the heat treatment of aerospace metals such as (titanium, stainless steel, and other alloys). The heat treatment process is used to give these metals improved strength, flexibility, or hardness.
Generally the graphite plates are preferred as fixtures because they are inert and do not transfer any chemistry or metals to the aerospace metal being treated, with the exception of the eutectic reaction, which will be discussed in a future blog.
In addition, graphite plates are long lasting and can be reused numerous times providing a cost effective solution to heat treating of exotic materials.
As an extension of heat treating for aerospace, a common graphite use is as a susceptor. “A susceptor is a material used for its ability to absorb electromagnetic energy and convert it to heat (which is sometimes designed to be re-emitted as infrared thermal radiation).”
Now this really explores the use of graphite as graphite susceptors are not only used for aerospace metals, but also for non-metal composites, and increasingly used for aerospace electronics (semiconductors) production.
Another use for graphite is as a mold. Graphite molds are used to cast titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel to near net shapes. Graphite molds are also used for molding non-metal composites. An example of this is for a satellite dish deployed on a satellite.
Graphite itself is used for jet and rocket engine nozzles and Carbon/Graphite vanes, impellers and rotors move aviation fuel safely without the dangers of creating sparks to ignite fuel.
Aerospace and synthetically engineered graphite, a good combination of material science, metallurgy, physics, and dreams.