Description   Aluminum and aluminum alloys are lightweight, non-ferrous metals with good corrosion resistance, ductility, and strength. Products differ in terms of composition, grade, shape, dimensions, and features.   Types   Alloy Forms   Aluminum alloys can be developed from one or a combination of metal forming processes.   Wrought non-heat-treatable alloys are mechanically worked after being cast and cannot be strengthened by precipitation...
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Q & A on Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys

We asked our users for their input on Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys. Here are the results of 177 users familiar with Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing aluminum and aluminum alloy design?
31 answers
Answers:
Corrosion resistance & protection, improved fastening and riveting and bonding methods, improved bonding to carbon fiber materials, the ability to locally harden by anodic and similar methods to give a bearing surface, Improved tensile stress allowable, improved seamless tube manufacture. (A disadvantage is the poor stocking levels within the UK)
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
Demands for weight reduction, weldability, elasticity post pressure casting processes.
~Rod E, Marketing/Sales, London UK, England
Usage of aluminum alloys in automobile and aircrafts, joining techniques.
~Engineering, Consulting, PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative aluminum and aluminum alloys?
27 answers
Answers:
The key word here is SMALL. When I started in aluminum, there was a two-horse race between Alcan and Alcoa. Each had teams of people, who had the task of finding new downstream opportunities to sell the zillions of pounds of smelter metal. Downstream was not important for these companies and probably still isn't. Today, the demand is coming from downstream with questions like, "I wish I had a new alloy which did this?" The big companies have to justify sales in millions of pounds in order to start the process. Small companies, with small casting units, small Properzi rolling mills, small Conform machines, small extruders can make these new variants as a genuine commercial venture without a huge sales prognosis. There are many of these companies but they need confidence to continue. My own personal knowledge is in Europe but that does not exclude US companies. Last week I was at the OTC convention in Houston Tx, and many companies were heading towards this 'niche' world in aluminum.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
I am not sure about who is actually creating the improvements in the alloys, as I only see the results from technical information released.
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
Alcoa Alcan (Apollo) Aleris (Corus) Hydro Kaiser Universal Alloy
~Engineering, Other, Murrysville, PA
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used aluminum and aluminum alloys for?
46 answers
Answers:
For Producing Street light fittings' bodies, Flood light bodies in Deep Draw (Extra Deep Draw Quality) , Gravity Casting (LM6), Pressure Die Casting (LM6, ILS 132, LEG 231 etc) Processes. Used aluminium Extruded sections, for manufacturing Work Stations (Modular Furniture) used in BPOs and Call Centers. Aluminium sheets are used for various pressed components of lighting and furniture industries. Deep Drawing Anodised quality sheets are used for Reflector Pots used in Flood lights, street lights etc. (HID lamps). Re-Drawn Aluminium tubes are used in Displays Systems by Event Management Companies.
~SATISH SHETTY, Purchaser, Mumbai, India
As above, I have helped to develop new alloys for fasteners (bolts in car engines, rivet mandrels, etc), overhead conductor where people are happy to run hot and suffer IR losses if they can get more power through the line, thermal spraying where special surfaces are needed (like anti-slip, anti-corrosion), fuel cell anodes, bearings in marine diesel engines (AlSn alloys made in the form of atomised powders), replacement of copper wiring in cars.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
Domestic Products (Windows Doors Shopfronts) Designed own reverse glazing system and window converter section from steel to aluminium windows.
~Other, Germiston, South Africa
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that aluminum and aluminum alloys have been used for.
15 answers
Answers:
Water jet cut aluminium plate, such as T6--6061 & T6-6082, in plate thicknesses of 5/8" to 7/8" to produce integral strut braced structures with integral local attachment areas that would normally have used steel tube fabrications of many different parts, and using the cut-out areas for smaller components.
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
As above, special alloys for fuel cells, AlSn alloys for heavy bearings, bolts in Mg- alloy high performance engines, spraying onto concrete to galvanically protect the rebars, anti-slip and anti-corrosion coatings for steel and aluminum marine structures.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
Series production Audi car body spaceframe structure (and Ferrari, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lamborghini) Lightweight body components for cars and trucks Ships (end-to-end) Bridges Automotive wiring
~Engineering, Other, Murrysville, PA
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of aluminum and aluminum alloys?
11 answers
Answers:
Using welded aluminium alloy in a fatigue environment without proper design to replace a much heavier welded steel alternative. Large grain size found within an extruded T section aluminium alloy boom, in a fatigue environment lead in to failure (this being a manufacturing fault). Corrosion between alununium alloy and attachment fittings.
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
In Gravity castings, inferior ingots used having less silicon, more iron and lead contents. Lead and Iron increases weight of castings and becomes reddish due to rust formation. Less Silicon causes improper filling, blow holes etc.
~SATISH SHETTY, Purchaser, Mumbai, India
Overspecification is the main error. People have demanded an alloy which is too pure for their needs and have driven up the cost so that customers go away from aluminum.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
21 answers
Answers:
Sorry, there are a lot of potential products, as in the previous questions. Corrosion resistance is important and often forgotten, strength is normal, special surface properties (heading towards 'nano', maybe). Perhaps the main target for aluminum is to approach the strength of stainless steel (lower end) or as a substitute for titanium in aerospace alloys.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
Reducing corrosion, improved fatigue life and better test proving data here for the different alloys, higher allowable tensile stresses, reducing grain size consistently through the whole section of an extruded sections, more research into aluminium alloy jointing methods, more research and data regarding light weight alumimium honeycomb sandwich material.
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
To guarantee: Tensile strength, hardness, toughness, fatigue strength, strength to relaxation phenomena due to temperature exposure, galvanic corrosion, integranular corrosion.
~Matteo V., Engineer, Veduggio con Colzano, Italy
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of aluminum and aluminum alloys?
13 answers
Answers:
The main advice is that they have to get technical. If they want mainstream for their business, they go to the usual companies and get the standard alloys - all of this is well developed. If they want to do something special, they need to find a special route to market and this will demand a lot of energy. Nothing like this is easy. They almost need to go back to first principles. An example in a standard 7xxx series alloy is that people have recommended that fabricators buy a certain temper and this gives well-defined properties. This has been written in tablets of stone and can limit alloy selection. It is necessary to keep asking, "Why" in order to get to the fundamental, real selection criteria.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
Be careful not to mix different materials with aluminium alloys because of corrosion. Stainless steel & titanium may be the best mixers. Remember that aluminium alloys have a fatigue life (and cannot be used like a steel alloy), so if looking at a structure subject to say a million or more stress reversals, then keep the stress level low (or use an S/N diagram solution) and above all avoid any stress concentrations.
~Eric K, Engineering Consultant, Bath, UK
Test the material, don't take what the book says at face value. Also methods of manufacture have a dramatic impact on the material's physical properties. Wrought aluminium and cast aluminium are very different materials even with the same chemical make up.
~Rod E, Marketing/Sales, London UK, England
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using aluminum and aluminum alloys?
13 answers
Answers:
My advice is not to take existing alloy lists from big companies as the total of what is available. Keep asking around. In the US, which tends to be shielded from the rest of the world, go foreign, ask in Europe, find linguists to read foreign-language journals, attend conferences in Europe.
~Chris Wheatley, Engineering Consultant, Wales, United Kingdom
The aluminum manufacturers need more spec. information and general information on aluminum free of charge.
~Albert N. H., Owner, Jacksonville, Duval
If alu alloy is treatable, take care of uniformity of heat treatment and quenching sensitivity.
~Matteo V., Engineer, Veduggio con Colzano, Italy
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