Aluminum is one of the most readily available metals on the market. It also has countless uses across a wide range of industries. That being said, pure aluminum isn’t exactly the best option for most applications. In its purest form, aluminum is extremely weak and flimsy, so it won’t offer the strength and versatility most people need for their components and other products. To add greater strength and versatility, aluminum is mixed with other metals. This creates alloys that offer far more benefits than pure aluminum alone.
Finding the Right Aluminum for Your Needs
Numerous aluminum alloys are available. In fact, there are nearly 550 registered and recognized variations of aluminum on the market right now. Even more could come into play during the years to come. You can find several suitable alloys by searching for an aluminum foundry near me and contacting the facility to find out what it has to offer. In the meantime, consider the following information to help determine which alloy might best meet your needs and expectations.
Think about Which Properties You’re Looking for
Aluminum alloys offer a long list of varying properties. All of them offer several advantages, but not all of them will be right for your upcoming project. Which one is best suited to your requirements will depend largely on the properties you need.
One of the main factors to consider is strength. How much weight or force will your aluminum components or structures need to be able to withstand? Another important aspect is corrosion resistance. Will the aluminum be exposed to caustic chemicals, salt spray, or other corrosive elements? Workability is yet another point to cover. Some alloys are harder and more brittle whereas others are softer and more malleable. Weldability is also an essential consideration. Certain aluminum alloys are more easily and effectively weldable than others.
Consider Some of the Common Alloys
Once you’ve determined which properties and benefits you need the aluminum to provide, you can move on to the alloys that are available. In light of the number of options available, covering all of them would be virtually impossible. Still, we can touch upon some of the most common choices.
- Aluminum Alloy 1100. Alloy 1100 is soft and extremely workable. This makes it perfect for forming and extrusion. Though it’s weldable and resistant to corrosion, it can’t be heat treated. It’s often used in food and chemical processing.
- Aluminum Alloy 2011. If you’re looking for high mechanical strength and machinability, alloy 2011 may be the right choice. It’s typically used for lathing and creating components that require intricate details. Despite its many benefits, this alloy can’t be welded.
- Aluminum Alloy 2014. This aluminum-copper alloy offers strength, hardness, and machinability. As is the case with alloy 2011, it doesn’t take well to welding. Alloy 2014 is commonly used in the aerospace industry for structural applications because of its strength. It’s not very resistant to corrosion, though.
- Aluminum Alloy 2024. While aluminum alloy 2024 offers little corrosion resistance, it has significant strength and fatigue resistance. It’s machinable, workable, and weldable. It can also be heat treated if need be. This alloy can be anodized or clad to improve its resistance to corrosion.
This is only a fraction of the aluminum alloys that are at your disposal. Each one offers its own distinct list of properties, benefits, and disadvantages. If you’re still unsure of which one might work best for your project or want to learn more about some of the other alloys, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.