Properties of aluminium
Aluminium is suplied in a variety of different grades - depending on the alloying element. Each grade displays specific properties and characteristics making aluminium an extremely versatile metal.
More information on specific grades, properties and characteristcs can be found by clicking on the specific datasheet in the list below:
Click here to see our range of aluminium data sheets
Aluminium is a light alloy with silver optics and so popular that the global utilization increases annually by more than 5%. The material occurs in many forms. Aluminium properties differ between grades depending on the alloy present giving each grades certain, unique characteristics.
Within the family of metals only silver, copper and gold have better electrical conductivity. Also the thermal conductivity of aluminium is very high, while its melting point is just above 660°C.
Anodised aluminium has an even higher corrosion protection than the untreated raw material as a result of its special surface. In addition, aluminium is corrosion-resistant in the neutral pH range due to its oxide layer. Rust does not adhere to this top layer since the light alloy is itself protected by this sealing layer.
Furthermore, aluminium contains no irom. This has as result that it is not magnetisable or is only paramagnetic, which means that it has no external magnetic characteristics. An important property and difference in comparison with steel and iron.
- Low density
The density of aluminium is approximately one third that of steel. Because of its low density, it is commonly used in applications that require strong but lightweight materials. Some of these applications include manufacturing vehicles and aircraft, where the lightweight nature of aluminium helps to conserve fuel.
- Simple to process
Despite being a sturdy metal, aluminium is flexible and can be easily formed and reworked into different shapes. There are different processes used to rework aluminium. The most common methods are rolling, drawing and extrusion.
- Smooth surface
Aluminium forms a protective coating almost instantly when exposed to air. This thin coat bonds firmly to the metal, aiding its resistance to corrosion. With other surface treatments like anodising, the smooth surface of aluminium can be further improved and protected, making aluminium a great option in finishing structures or equipment.
- Lower dimensional tolerances
The lower dimensional tolerance of aluminium helps saves time in producing the different parts and assembling them, hence favours its use in construction.
- Not magnetisable
Aluminium can be used in high voltage applications as it is not magnetisable. Because of this characteristic, it is used in long distance electricity lines and electronics. It can also be used in shielding sensitive electronic devices.
- Can be decoratively anodised very well (dependent on the alloy)
Anodising aluminium has multiple benefits. The most apparent is the lasting aesthetic appeal that comes with anodising. The process is cost-effective and does not peel, allowing the finish to last longer, and therefore is commonly used for finishing because of its decorative qualities.
- Good machinability (dependent on the strength and alloying elements)
Generally, aluminum is easy to work into complex shapes from one piece of extruded aluminum without any mechanical joinery necessary. Some of its applications using this method include baseball bats, heat exchangers, and refrigeration tubing.
Aluminium can also be joined, soldered, welded, and brazed. Clips, bolts, rivets, adhesive, and other fasteners and joining methods can be used when machining and joining aluminium, as is the case with aircraft components.
• Consumer Goods
Aluminium grades stocked
1050 is the most common general purpose grade of aluminium sheet, it is easy to fabricate and has good corrosion resistance.
3103 is slightly stronger than grade 1050, it is easy to fabricate and has good corrosion resistance.
2014 is a very high strength grade that has poor corrosion resistance.
5083 is available in plate or bar. It is a high strength grade suitable for marine applications and general fabrication.
5251 is the strongest sheet grade that we stock, it also has the highest corrosion resistance and is easy to fabricate.
5754 is used for tread plate applications. It is formable and is very corrosion resistant.
6063 is the most common grade available for general fabrication. It is not suitable for structural applications. It usually has a slightly better surface than 6082.
6082 is available in plate, bar and sections, it is a medium strength grade that is regularly used for structural applications. It has good corrosion resistance.
7075 is a very high strength grade with fair corrosion resistance.