Aluminum unique properties are widely known, but its strength in a pure form is very low. That means, there are serious limits to use it as a constructional stuff. The situation changes radically when adding to aluminum other elements. As a result, we get aluminum alloys which show incredibly versatile, strong and reliable characteristics, that are so sought-after in such fields as engineering, construction and the automotive industry.
What is aluminum alloy?
"Alloy" is a mixture of various metal components made to increase the hardness and longevity of the material. Needless to say, aluminum is a base element in aluminum alloys. Other elements in a mixture can be: as silicon, manganese, tin, magnesium etc. The combination of ingredients in every alloy vary depending on the wanted request – with the proper composition, aluminum gets higher durability, and sometimes it is even superior to steel. The aluminum alloys represent the same advantages as pure metal and they are also comparatively economic cause their melting point is lower.
Benefits and Applications
Not surprisingly, that nowadays aluminum is considered to be one of the top in the group of non-ferrous metals, which has wide application used in construction, engineering and industry. We can hardly find a lot of materials as strong, easy and multipurpose as aluminum alloys. All that stuff is perfectly clear to engineers and manufacturers, but are most people aware of aluminum's properties and its potential?
The most popular applications of aluminum alloys
Aerospace and Automotive
Aluminum alloys are highly important materials for these industries as they can reduce the mass of the vehicles, and therefor maximize the effectiveness and fuel saving in the end. Additionally, the durability of aluminum alloy makes it also a safe choice because it carries out very well in crash tests exceeding the demands of most safety regulations worldwide. Comparing to steel, aluminum is much lighter. That property allows to create strong metal parts avoiding additional weight that can reduce the effectiveness of vehicles.
Buildings and constructions
Aluminum alloys are also great request in the constructing industry due to their high strength. No doubt, steel is so far the key material in the industry, but aluminum alloys are by all means occupy the second place. Strength and safety are the characters to be considered when building modern skyscrapers and constructions. Add to these two high corrosion resistance, low flammability, natural isolating property and you'll have the answer why aluminum is perfect choice for this industry. Additionally, aluminum does not burn in air, does not produce smoke or other toxic fumes.
Electrical and electronic engineering
Aluminum is truly non-ferromagnetic and doesn't produce electromagnetic interference. That's why the metal is widely used in electrical and electronic engineering.
The history of the creation of aluminum alloys
Aluminum alloy 6063 was developed in the 1930s. As this alloy has found wide use in the USA, it is often called "American". In the 90s of the 20th century, its “modified” version appeared - aluminum alloy 6060. Alloy 6060 is widely used in Western Europe and, accordingly, is called “European”. In the same 30s of the 20th century, the Soviet Union developed (or borrowed) its alloy AD31, the composition of which was determined by GOST 4784 * 97 and was similar to alloy 6063. Only in 2000, the composition of the AD31 alloy according to GOST 4784-97 was modified (in the size of tolerances for impurities has changed significantly, primarily from iron: from 0.35 to 0.5) and it no longer coincides with alloy 6063.