Invar tooling is highly durable and can withstand repeated use without losing its dimensional stability. It is also resistant to corrosion and can maintain its properties over a wide range of temperatures. However, Invar tooling can be expensive to produce and can have a longer lead time compared to other materials like graphite.
While Invar tooling has its own unique advantages for the aerospace industry, there are many benefits to using graphite tooling in certain applications.
12 Benefits of Using Graphite Tooling over Invar for the Aerospace Industry
- Lower Thermal Expansion: Graphite has a lower coefficient of thermal expansion than Invar, which means that it is less likely to warp or deform when exposed to temperature changes during manufacturing processes. During cure, shrinkage and thermal expansion of the tool and part will be very similar. This helps maintain the part’s dimensional accuracy.
- High Temperature Resistance: Graphite can withstand high temperatures up to 3,000°C, making it ideal for use in aerospace manufacturing processes that involve extreme heat.
- High Thermal Conductivity: Graphite has high thermal conductivity, which can help with the transfer of heat during manufacturing processes.
- Lightweight: Graphite is much lighter than Invar, which makes it a good choice for applications where weight reduction is a priority.
- High Strength-to-Weight Ratio: Graphite has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means it can be used to create strong and lightweight aerospace components.
- Electrical Conductivity: Graphite is an excellent electrical conductor, which can be useful in certain aerospace applications that require electrical discharge machining (EDM).
- Machinability: Graphite is easier to machine than Invar, which can help reduce production time and costs.
- Cost-effective: Graphite tooling is less expensive than Invar tooling, making it a cost-effective choice for some applications.
- Chemical Resistance: Graphite is highly resistant to many chemicals, making it a good choice for aerospace manufacturing processes that involve corrosive material.
- Vacuum Integrity: Once sealed, graphite tooling has excellent vacuum integrity, which makes it ideal for use in vacuum environments, such as in the production of satellite components.
- Tool Surface Finish: Graphite tooling can produce high-quality surface finishes that are free of defects, such as porosity or surface roughness. This is important in aerospace applications where surface quality is critical for performance.
- Rework Opportunities: Graphite tooling can be easily reworked or repaired, which can save time and money in the production process. In contrast, Invar tooling is much more difficult to rework or repair.
Overall, the unique properties of graphite tooling make it a valuable option for certain aerospace applications like satellite and aerospace engine components. However, the specific application and requirements of each project should be carefully considered when deciding between graphite and Invar tooling, as both materials have their own benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice between graphite and Invar tooling will depend on factors such as cost, production time, and the required properties of the finished product.