Aluminum Alloys

Main Aluminum Alloys Characteristics

Aluminum Alloys 1000 series

In this series there are two different metal categories, the refined and the others such as aluminum 1050°and aluminum 1200.

The “refined “: 1199 and 1198 with an equal content from 99.98% and up to 99.999%. Depending on its aluminum content, are used in the manufacture of electric condensers (etché metal), parables used for illumination (special quality), decorative applications in the building industry, and luxury packaging (cosmetics and perfumes). The metal is often anodized.

Metal 1050° with higher content than 99.50% is the most used. It presents a good behavior among values of mechanical resistance, suitability to plastic deformation (formability) *and appearance property. The fields for its usage are multiple: packaging, building industry, boiler makers, plumbing, fins and tubes for heat exchangers, electrical conductors, etc.

Aluminum 1200, with content between 99 and 99.5% substitutes aluminum 1050° where plasticity is enough to satisfy the desired usage (packaging, household and cooking discs, etc.).

Aluminum Alloy 2000 series

The most important added element in this series is copper, followed by magnesium and silicon. The general criteria to choose this series are:

  • -Mechanical resistance to T6 state,
  • -Slow speed in the propagation of fissure to T4 state,
  • -Resistance to heat conservation,
  • -Good workability in tool machines.

To simplify, we can identify in this series three groups of alloys. Their use is listed below:

TO TEMPERED AND AGED STATE T4 OR T451

The 2017A presents mechanical media resistance and good machinery workability. This alloy is often used in mechanical applications (extruded products or thick caliber plates).

The 2024 with higher magnesium quantity is a better variation than the 2017. It presents higher mechanical characteristics, good tenacity and good resistance to crack propagation. It is mainly used in the aircraft field: thin or medium plates (T351 state) and extruded products.

The 2124 T351 is a variation of alloy 2024 and its base (1080) has a minor concentration of iron and silicon. It has better tenacity than alloy 2024.

TO ANNEALING STATE T6 (T651) OR T8 (T851)

Alloy 2014 with higher silicon content (0.50 to 1.20%) presents at T6 state particularly elevated mechanical characteristics. It is used in the aeronautical field and in several mechanical applications.

Alloy 2214 is a variation from 2014 with a lower iron content which improves its tenacity and resistance to the fissure propagation in thick caliber plates used in aircrafts. It´s indicated to be used in mechanical applications, specifically in the recorders’ drums manufacture.

Alloy 2024 to T8 state presents in high thickness products, a good level of mechanical resistance. The resistance to the intergranular corrosion is satisfying for the semi-finished products which thickness is inferior to 10 millimeters. A work-hardening intervention half way between the tempering and annealing increases further mechanical resistance (T8 state). Its mainly used is in aircrafts and military.

Further additions of iron, nickel and vanadium guarantee good mechanical characteristics at temperatures that oscillate from 100° to 300°C. The 2618° and 2219 alloys to T6 state present a good heat and run off stability up to 100/150°.

The 2618A is used in aeronautical construction (the Concorde, for example) and in mechanical applications. The 2219 is the industrial alloy with the highest copper concentration: 6% with a manganese, vanadium, zirconium and titanium supplement. After tempering, hardening allows to increase the mechanical characteristics level. The alloy is used in the physical states T3, T6, T8 and offers good performance:

  • -Resistance to run off and to tensile strength at temperatures from 200° - 300°C,
  • -Good mechanical characteristics to cryogenic temperatures,
  • - Arc welding (MIG and TIG),
  • -Corrosion resistance under tension in state T6.

It is used to build and weld aerospace propulsive rocket tanks.

Finally, lead and/or bismuth additions donate the alloy a good workability of the tool making easier in this way the particles fragmentation, in the same way that happens for 2011 and 2030 alloys.

Remember that, except for the 2219; these alloys are not to be welded with the traditional methods MIG and TIG. They furthermore present a mediocre corrosion resistance therefore they must be well protected if used in a humid environment and even more if aggressive.

Aluminum alloys 3000 series

The industrial alloys corresponding to series 3000 have 1-1.5% manganese content. This element substantially improves the mechanical characteristics of pure aluminum. The mechanical resistance is increased from 40 to 50 Mpa, yet keeping a good plastic deformation.

The most representative alloy of this series is the 3003. The copper addition up to 0.20% subsequently increases the mechanical resistance, the alloy with iron at 0.70% eases the obtainment of a fine grain structure. For all of the alloys of this series, is at the annealed state “O” that the best plastic deformation characteristics are achieved.

Its main applications are found in the building industry (coverings, sheet metal works) in the boiler industry, in the tubes used in heat exchangers, in the discs used in pots and pans, etc.

Alloy 3103 is a variation of the 3003 alloy, without copper.

Alloy 3004 with a complementary magnesium addition equal to 1% approximately, presents better mechanical characteristics yet conserving the general properties of the 3003. It is mainly used in the production of containers (food cans), pots and pans discs, in the building industry (lacquer products).

Alloys 3005 and 3105 present mechanical and plasticity characteristics with intermediate values between the 3003 and 3004 alloy. They are used in the building industry, sheet metal works, and boiler industry and to produce capsules and heat plates.

Aluminum alloys 4000 series

There are two different categories of these alloys:

  • - Those with less silicon content than 2% with or without manganese addition represented by alloys 4006 and 4007. They are worked in the annealed state and are mainly used for pots and pans enamel. The enamel annealing, made at 550°C approximately during a very short period of time, followed by a quick cooling, induces a light solubility effect and an according metal hardened effect.
  • - Those with high silicon content, belonging to the 5-15% rank with further additions and represented by 4004, 4014, 4043° and other alloys. They are rolled in combination with other alloys from 3000 and 6000 series. A bimetallic rolled product is done. These semi-finished products are used in the heat exchangers brazing for automobiles, in the natural gas liquefaction containers manufacture. For TIG and MIG welding a metal thread made out of 4043° alloy is used.

Aluminum alloys 5000 series

Its mechanical characteristics are increased as the magnesium content increases. The alloys industrially used have a 5% content. Higher contents could compromise the alloy stability, especially under the temperature effect. The alloy permanence in temperature provokes precipitation, the edge of the grains and the intermetallic compound Al3Mg2.

When required by any application it is possible to make thermal stabilization treatments for alloys with higher magnesium content than 3% (physical states H3X, H116).

Alloys in 5000 series have other addition elements such as manganese, chromium, titanium: They can increase the mechanical resistance and, or, improve some properties like corrosion resistance, welding, and others.

These alloys are characterized by:

  • - Good welding response with exception for alloys containing magnesium from 1.8 to 2.2%. The mechanical resistance of the welded zone, particularly in correspondence to the welding cord is almost analog to the one measured in the base material, to the annealed state.
  • - Good behavior to low temperatures.
  • - A good corrosion resistance, even in welded materials.

Surface treatments such as polishing or anodization donate these alloys a beautiful superficial aspect, especially if the alloy has low iron and silicon content like 5657 produced from aluminum1080.

The main alloys of this series are:

5005, with 0.60% magnesium that substitutes aluminum 1050°and 1200 where good mechanical characteristics are required anodized or pre-enameled in bands, this alloy is often used in the building industry (façade coverings).

5657, is a variation from 5005, obtained from a purer aluminum base (1085). It allows getting the “Special Qualities” used for perfumes bottles, luxury cosmetics, illumination parables and decoration.

5052, with 2.5% magnesium content or with chromium addition offers a good commitment among mechanical resistance, plastic deformation, corrosion resistance and exertion resistance. It is often used, in the physical state H28, to manufacture food containers and other products such as boilers, industrial body shops, street panels, etc.

5049, without chromium but with manganese is a variation from 5052 and it is often used in heat dissipaters and the boiler industry.

Alloys 5454,5754 and 5154°, with magnesium content from 2.5 to 4% and minor manganese and chromium additions have high usage in the building industry, industrial and civil vehicles and mechanic industry.

The 5154° alloy is used to produce rivets and very fine thread to manufacture fly screens and coaxial wires.

The 5086 and 5083, with magnesium 3 to 5% content with chromium and manganese additions have the best characteristics among the rolled semi-finished in 5000 series, even at cryogenic temperatures. They also guarantee a good stability and an interesting toleration to corrosion, especially in marine environments. They are often used in naval and industrial construction.

The 5383 alloy also contains magnesium from 4 to 5% but is different from the others because it has a high manganese content (0.70%) and low iron content. In regard to 5086 and 5083, this new alloy presents after welded even better characteristics. It should guarantee important developments in navy constructions and boiler industry.

The 5182, which magnesium content fluctuates from 4 to 5% but with low iron and silicon content presents in the annealed state a good commitment between mechanical resistance and deformability. It is used to produce internal reinforcements in automotive body shops. Pre-enameled and at physical state H28, it conserves a good mechanical resistance value and good residual deformability to be used in the manufacture of can lids for drinking beverages.

The 5019, with 5% magnesium content is mostly used in specific applications such as rivets, ground straps for scuttlebutt lightning and staples when packaging food in sacks.

Aluminum alloys 6000 series

Either magnesium or silicon are distinctive of this alloy. The characteristics of this alloy are:

  • Good hot workability for rolling, extrusion, forging,
  • Good corrosion resistance in general, especially to atmosphere.
  • Good mechanic characteristics, improvable with a silicon addition (over the stoichiometric value from which is obtained the hardening compound precipitation Mg2Si ),
  • Good response to the plastic process (profiles coinage, rolled drawing) at state “O” is a little lesser than state T4,
  • Good arc welding and braze welding
  • Good superficial appearance after polishing and anodizing.

These prerogatives explain the huge development in the applications of this series, specifically to produce metallic trinkets.

These alloys are available:

  • In extruded semi-finished for 6005°, 6106, 6056, 6060, 6062,
  • In extruded semi-finished and drawn products for 6061 and 6082.

Alloy 6060 is the extrusion alloy for excellence. It can be transformed in very complex shapes. It can be tempered directly right out of the press (physical state T5). There are several variations that difference themselves because of their magnesium and silicon contents, with possible copper and chromium additions. The objective is to improve either one of the properties or to optimize a totality of characteristics such as the extrusion easiness, the surface appearance, best anodizing liability mechanical characteristics, etc.

Alloy 6005A has a good extrusion and is tempered when out of the press. At T5 state presents a 290 Mpa mechanical resistance and a very good tenacity. It can, then be used as a structural element in industrial vehicles, railways construction, mechanical plants, etc.

6106 is an extrusion alloy elaborated from Pechiney for several applications in light structure. It has good extrusion and temper characteristics when out of the press and good mechanical characteristics with Rm equal at 265 Mpa, median value between the 6060 and 6005°.

6056 at T6 state presents the highest mechanical characteristics of the entire series: Rm between 450 and 470 Mpa. It is used as reinforcement in automobile doors.

6262 with a lead or bismuth inclusion is a working alloy for tool machines.

Alloy 6082 at physical T6 state presents an Rm from 320 to 340 Mpa. Such as 6005° it is often used in industrial vehicles, railways and naval constructions, in general, in mechanical applications and for forging breaking out.

6016 at T4 state presents an average Rm equal to 220 Mpa and good deep-draw characteristics. It is often used in the body shop field.

6061 is an alloy at half mechanical resistance (Rm = 310 Mpa at T6 physical state). It is available under extruded shapes (bars, profiles, tubes), drawn tubes, rolled and forged aluminum. It is used in half resistance structures with good anti-corrosion characteristics. Its applications are to be researched in the industrial transportation and railways field, oil-gas pipelines, solder boilers, furniture tubes and other mechanical uses.

Aluminum alloys 7000 series

7000 ALLOYS WITHOUT COPPER ADDITION

The 7020 is the most used alloy to produce semi laminates or extrusion destined for different application fields like transportation, mechanic and weapons.

It is usually used in the temper state (T5 or T6) with Rm = 360-400 Mpa. If it isn´t subjected to solder, its corrosion resistance is satisfying.

Under 120-130°C temperatures, its mechanical resistance is remarkably reduced and warming under higher temperatures than 200°C can trigger exfoliating corrosions.

This alloy can be arc welded (metal 5356 contribution) and after it has been soldered, mechanical characteristics are verified equal to the metal base to the physical state T4. It presents a strong sensitivity to the corrosion exfoliation, in the thermal interested zone, in both sides of the welded cord. These inconvenient limits its usage in welded structures and possible specific accomplishments will need to be particularly controlled.

7000 ALLOYS WITH COPPER ADDITION

Alloys with the highest mechanical characteristics (physical T6 state) are obtained with the copper addition to the ternary system aluminum-zinc-magnesium.

To obtain resistant corrosion products in aggressive atmospheres and, in particular, resistant to tension corrosion oriented in a short transversal sense, it’s needed to make some double thermal annealing (physical states T73 and T76), with consequent value decrease of the mechanical characteristics of the 20% order.

7075, in rolled, extruded, forged and shaped products is the most used alloy in the aeronautical and mechanical sector, in sports and free time goods. Its properties in the physical states T6, T73, T76 are illustrated in fig. 21.

7475, which is a variation of the 7075 alloy with a lower iron and silicon content (base Al 1080), presents a good tenacity and resistance to fissure propagation. Even in this case, the applications are, especially in the aeronautical field.

The necessity of using products with higher thickness than 80 mm has taken to development of two alloys: 7050 and 7010 that differ from the 7075 because:

  • The substitution of the chromium with the zirconium to increase tempering.
  • A higher copper content which after the thermal double annealing treatment (physical states T73 and T76) confer the alloys the possibility to reach good commitments between the mechanical characteristics and corrosion resistance.

Among the most usually commercialized alloys the one that offers the best mechanical characteristics is the 7049 at state T6.

The average values are:

  • Rpo, 2 570 Mpa,
  • Rm 650 Mpa,
  • A 10%

It is used under the shape of extruded and forged pieces in the military or naval field.

Aluminum alloys 8000 series

Both additions, silicon and iron (which refines the crystalline structure) have the consequence of increasing the mechanical aluminum resistance.
These alloys, having a fine grain and a good isotropy, possess predisposition to deformability, always a difficult operation since there is the rolled aluminum with thickness between 50 and 200 microns presence.
It explains why the 8000 series has had such a development in many applications: fin for thermal exchangers, flexible tubes, thin bands in general.
The most used alloys are 8086 (with manganese) and 8011.

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