This article discusses the different types of aluminum alloys, their properties, and how they are used.
Aluminum alloys are classified as wrought aluminum, cast aluminum, and enable alloy. Wrought aluminum is the most commonly used for most manufacturing applications due to its high points of tensile strength and its ability to be shaped into complex shapes. Cast aluminum is used in applications requiring a lower melting point than wrought aluminum. Al aluminum alloy is an alloy type that combines both types of aluminum and is often used in aircraft production. There are many types of these alloys, each with its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses, depending on the manufacturing process used.
Making alloys consists of adding other elements to pure aluminium to create specific properties. Copper is the primary alloying element but there are others, such as silicon, magnesium and manganese which can also be used. The 2xxx series aluminum grade is the most common alloy used in manufacturing and is composed mainly of copper and silicon. Aluminum Silicon (AlSi) is a popular alloy used in aircrafts due to its high strength-to-weight ratio. Copper magnesium (CuMg) alloys are often used in the production of parts for industrial applications due to their low melting points and exceptional corrosion resistance. The 4xxx series alloys are suitable for use when a higher ultimate tensile strength needs to be achieved than what pure aluminium can provide.
The most common aluminum alloy is 6061. It is a combination of aluminum, magnesium and silicon alloyed together. It offers excellent corrosion resistance, good strength and surface finish. Other grades such as the 6xxx series alloys contain 1% zinc, which provides added strength. The 6xxx series alloys are used when more strength than what the 6061 alloy can provide is needed. They are suitable for applications where surfaces need to be kept smooth, such as sheets and extrusions.
Aluminum alloys can be divided into two main categories: most common aluminum and aluminum alloys. Most common aluminum refers to pure aluminium, which is 99.99% pure aluminium with no significant alloying elements added. This type of aluminum is used in general fabrication industries, such as the 1000 series and the 3xxx series. Aluminium alloys include most common types, such as the 6000 series which are non-heat treatable and include the 1xxx series, which are 99% pure with only small amounts of other alloying elements like magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn).
The most common form of aluminum alloy is the 1xxx series, which is machined from 1100 aluminum alloy and used for many applications. Extrusion wrought alloys are also available in this series, and are formed from 1100 aluminum alloy by hot or cold forming processes. Different cast aluminum grades can also be found in the 2xxx, 6xxx and 7xxx series alloys. Each of these grades have their own unique properties that make them suitable for specific applications. The 2024 aluminum alloy is one of the most popular alloys and can be heat treated to give it improved strength and hardness. Heat treatment processes like annealing, solution heat treating, quenching, aging and stress relieving can be used on this alloy to improve its properties.
There are many types of aluminum alloys that can be used for a variety of applications such as aluminum-silicon alloys, cast aluminium cerium alloys and additive manufacturing techniques. Through the process of casting, laser and other methods, it is possible to create parts with geometries greater mechanical properties. It also allows manufacturers to create more complex geometries which would not be possible with traditional machining processes.
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