Using Diamond Lapping in Aerospace Engineering

Achieving particular geometries and finishes using the most precise abrasives has become ever more demanding due to the increasing need for ever-harder materials. Throughout the aircraft and aerospace industries in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and maintenance, Kemet International Ltd.’s diamond lapping and polishing systems are widely used as they offer the most reliable and efficient way of producing precision flat, polished surfaces.

Thanks to its extensive use in military applications, different countries have developed aerospace engineering as an essential discipline. To minimize the risk and increase the efficiency of military control, transport and fighter aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and aviation industry equipment require an expert in aerospace engineering.

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Aerospace metal finishing processes are used to increase the durability and corrosion resistance of aerospace materials. Aerospace increases the product yield, strength, and uniformity of the surface, and reduces the manufacturing cycle. Mechanical finishing and chemical finishing are two of the most commonly used methods of aerospace finishing. Several widely used processes include lapping, passivation, deburring, ultrasonic cleaning, and many more.

Lapping is a finishing process used where close tolerances and high precision are required. This helps finish the aerospace component close to the required flatness, thickness, parallelism, and very tight tolerance.

Kemet offers multiple machine sizes in its portfolio, which, depending on the type and size of the component, includes open-face or pneumatic lifts from 200 mm up to 3 m.

Kemet also provides bespoke annular grooved lapping plates, making it simpler to lap aerospace fuel and hydraulic systems to a flatness of less than 0.0005 mm (0.5 microns).

The lapping of hydraulic parts, engine seals and bearings, and metal-to-metal faced seals on pumps and valves is enabled by a wide range of lapping machines. A precise shoulder lapping of gear faces is offered by adding a Kemet composite annular grooved plate. Using Kemet’s portable hand lap kits and Helilaps, landing gear components can be effectively lapped with diamond and intricate internal faces/diameters, along with other aviation subassemblies, polished using diamond paste.

In various materials (e.g. tungsten carbide, stellite, ceramic, silicon carbide, carbon, brass), pump, valve and engine seals up to 300 mm diameters can all be lapped and polished. Under production conditions using diamond to a flatness of two to three light bands (<0.001 mm), some can be lapped and polished to a mirror finish, where required.

Kemet's ISO-assured diamond abrasives enable precision lapping of aircraft components to be carried out in production and service environments. To achieve optimum stock removal and surface finish, ease of cleaning, temperature resistance and lubricity, each slurry or compound is a specific concentration of graded diamond powder blended with a chemical carrier.

Component cleanliness significantly impacts product quality, efficiency and bottom-line results in the aerospace industry. Kemet and its portfolio offer intelligent and safe parts cleaning solutions with low production costs and short repayment periods. Ultrasonic cleaning has been proven to be the most efficient cleaning method within aerospace parts cleaning.

Several parts need to be passivated in the aerospace industry, including stainless steel parts, landing gear components, control rods, cockpit fasteners, hydraulic actuators, and exhaust systems of the aerospace engines.

Kemet offers passivation systems and machines that are automated and encapsulated at multi-stage lines. Typically, this has six to nine stages which are feasible for the normal, routine-sized aerospace industry.

This information has been sourced, reviewed, and adapted from materials provided by Kemet International Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Kemet International Ltd.

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