Aluminum is one of the most widely used industrial metals in many fields. Its uses extend to sectors such as shipbuilding, railways, automobiles and aerospace, among others. Thanks to its deformability, its great resistance and its conductivity, we can find a large number of types of aluminum. In this article we are going to explain each of the types of aluminium, its characteristics and applications. Don't miss it!
Types of aluminum
Aluminium, unlike other materials, is never used in its 100% pure state. To use it, it is alloyed with other metals to improve its natural characteristics, which means that the types of aluminium are almost infinite. This is why they are grouped into these series or grades:
- 1000 series: it has a purity of 99% aluminium. It has a high resistance to corrosion, great malleability and unbeatable finishes. It is also non-toxic.
- Series 2000: in this series, the aluminium has a copper alloy, which makes it mechanically resistant and also resistant to corrosion.
- Series 3000: they have a manganese alloy, which is the reason why it has a high level of mechanical resistance and also resistance to corrosion.
- Series 4000: is alloyed with silicon, which gives it high heat resistance. It is mainly used in engine pistons.
- 5000 series: The 5000 series is mainly alloyed with magnesium, so it has a high level of resistance to seawater corrosion.
- 6000 series: the aluminium is alloyed with magnesium and silicon, giving it an interesting mechanical strength, high corrosion resistance and excellent weldability.
- Series 7000: this alloy with zinc gives it high mechanical strength and is therefore often used for mobile equipment and aircraft structures.
- 8000 series: finally, the 8000 series represents all those aluminium alloys with other elements that we have not mentioned.
To fully understand this classification, it is necessary to know the meaning of its digits. The first digit indicates the main element of the alloy. The second digit, if it is a number other than 0, shows a modification of the alloy itself, and the third and fourth digits represent arbitrary numbers that identify specific alloys in the series.
Most commonly used aluminium alloys
Some of the most common aluminium alloys are as follows:
This is what we would call pure aluminium, as it only contains a maximum of 0.1% copper, the rest being aluminium. It may also contain small proportions of silicon, zinc, iron or magnesium among others. Its applications are universal, for example in the manufacture of metal tableware. It is also used in the chemical and food processing industries, as it is easy to work and weld.
This is one of the most widely used high-strength types of aluminum, also known as duralumin. It is composed of copper, manganese and magnesium. It has medium machining tolerance and can only be friction welded. It is widely used in the aerospace industry, due to its good strength-to-weight ratio and high resistance to load damage.
This is the most widely used of all existing alloys. It is understood to be a pure aluminium commercially speaking, and has manganese to increase its strength, as well as copper. It has excellent corrosion resistance and workability. Its applications are universal and it can be used for packaging, sheeting, signs, decoration, etc.
An alloy created from aluminium, magnesium and copper. It is not heat treatable and is considered one of the strongest alloys. It works well in the marine industry, for sheet metal fabrication, sheet metal plate and ship welding.
Belongs to the 6000 series and is composed of silicon (0.6%), magnesium (1.0%), copper (0.25%) and chromium (0.2%), which gives it interesting mechanical strength, high corrosion resistance and excellent weldability. It is one of the most common aluminium alloys nowadays, as it is also non-polluting and easy to handle. Its most common applications tend to be in the aerospace, marine and food industries, among others.
This aluminium alloy combines only silicon and magnesium, and has tensile properties, high corrosion resistance and good finishing qualities. This is why it is a highly valued alloy in architecture.
The trade name for this alloy is Zicral, but it is also known as Ergal, Constructal or Fortal. It is a combination of aluminium and zinc which makes it stronger than steel. Due to its properties and resistance, it is used in the sports, automotive and aerospace sectors.
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