Within the framework of the European Clean Sky aviation research program, the LAWENDEL project is testing laser beam welding of new aluminium-lithium alloys (AA2198-T8, AA2196-T8) with the aim of developing appropriate process parameters and conditions that will ensure the production of fault-free laser beam seams for this alloys. The use of these new alloys could mean a further weight reduction of up to ten percent in comparison with those currently used by the aerospace industry. The developed process technologies are scaled up for welding lightweight demonstrators on the original scale.
Current developments in the automotive industry are mainly driven by the demand for reduction in both vehicular weight and production costs. These goals are attainable by using what are known as “tailor welded blanks” (TWBs), which consist of lightweight and high strength aluminium alloys that can be bound together using laser beam welding. AA5XXX und AA6XXX are typical aluminium alloys used in the automotive industry while the AA7XXX alloys also look very promising. The laser welding process is developed and optimized in relation to the material combinations used, such as AA5083/AA7075, the microstructural and mechanical properties, the corrosion properties and the formability. If necessary, additional treatment of the welded joints will be developed to improve the TWB formability.