Aluminum is an excellent material possessing superb corrosion resistance properties. It’s often preferred for its easy workability and high fatigue strength.
For use in water or wet environments, aluminum requires additional treatment to withstand the demands of the highly corrosive environment, more so in marine applications.
Special alloys are added to enhance certain aluminium properties like corrosion resistance resulting in marine-grade aluminum.
Marine-grade aluminum comes in various alloys with differing abilities to respond to various mechanical and thermal treatments.
Marine-grade aluminum is commonly used in shipbuilding, making off-shore components and off-shore drilling platforms. This material is often preferred because of its extensive benefits which include:
Superior resistance to corrosion
Widely available in plates, sheets and extrusions
Lightweight with a high strength-to-weight ratio
Compatible with various fabrication processes
Properties and Applications of Various Marine Grade Aluminum Alloys
We offer several marine-grade aluminum alloys, each with unique properties because of the alloys added to the primary material.
The different alloys are available in various stock forms which include plate, sheet, coil, pipe, tube, extrusions, and bars.
The most common aluminum alloys for marine use include:
Al-Si alloys – 4XXX (413.0, 443.0)
Aluminum silicon alloys are highly fluid, wieldable and castable. The alloys are moderately strong and perfect for various applications like engine blocks. With the addition of other alloys like copper and magnesium, this alloy can also be used as a weld filler material.
The Al-Si alloy is often used for leak and fatigue-resistant castings and in making vital components for marine applications.
Al-Mg alloys 5XXX (512.0, 514.0, 518.0, 535.0)
Aluminum-magnesium alloys are not heat treatable and are hard to cast. However, they have a high resistance to corrosion and are best suited for components that are regularly exposed to seawater.
There are also wrought aluminum alloys which include aluminum alloys 5052, 5083, and 5754 which are also non-heat treatable but are easily wieldable and possess the same excellent corrosion resistance that can keep up with the demands of marine waters.
The wrought aluminum alloys class of alloys handles well even in cryogenic temperatures, is moderately strong and is strain hardenable.
Al-Mg-Si alloys -6XXX (6061, 6063, 6111)
This class of aluminum alloys is best known for its decorative and structural properties with excellent finishing characteristics. It’s often used as an architectural alloy for various interior and exterior projects.
Aluminum-Magnesium-Silicon alloys are heat treatable, moderately strong, extrudable and highly corrosion resistant.
While we also offer marine grade stainless steel products, steel is a lot heavier than aluminum and might not work for some marine applications. Most watercrafts that are keen on corrosion control and maintenance costs, use marine-grade aluminum alloys.
Because of the unique properties of these aluminum alloys, watercrafts made from them cost less to maintain, carry higher payloads, have longer lives, are faster, and they have a high recycle value.