Aluminum alloys are widely used metal in various industries. they are lightweight and have good strength. There are many different types of aluminum alloys with different names in the market. how do you know which one is suitable for your project? whare are difference between each types? how they are named? in this blog, we will give you answers to these questions.

What is Aluminum alloy? 

Aluminum alloy is mainly composed of pure aluminum, combines with other elements such as copper, silicon, magnesium and zinc to improve its properties. aluminum alloys are lightweight and have excellent corrosion resistance, good electrical and thermal conductivity.

Advantage of aluminum alloy for CNC machining 

Machinability

Aluminum alloys have excellent machinability, becasue it is a soft metal that can chip and shape easily. this menas it can be cut by CNC milling and CNC turning cutting tool easily. this kind of easy to be machined property can reduce much the machining time so that reduce the cost. and aslo reduce the risk of deformation so that improve much the precision and repeatability of the machined aluminum parts.

Corrosion Resistance

Aluminum alloy have high resistance to corrosion becasue aluminum naturely forms a thin oxide layer on its surface,which protects against chemical wear and oxidization. Different aluminum grades differ greatly in their resistance to corrosion becasue the additional elements amounts they have. The most corrosion-resistant grades is Alunminum 6061 which is widely used in the applications with corrosion environment.

Lightweight

Aluminum alloy is lightweight, its density is 2.7 g/cm³ which is one-third the density of steel. This lightweight contribute a lot in thoses application needs lower weight such as Auotomotive industry.

Electrical Conductivity

Aluminum alloys are usually found in Electrical components becasue aluminum have high electrical conductivity. Pure aluminum has an electrical conductivity of about 37.7 million siemens per meter at room temperature. In aluminum alloy, with other elements added, its conductivitie become lower but still much better than steels and other metals but not copper.

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Even aluminum alloy are lightweight, but aluminum alloys still can provide excellent strength and structural integrity. that is why in automotive and aerospace industries, a lot of CNC-machined aluminum parts are used. the strength-to-weight ratio differ in different grades of aluminum alloy. 7075 is more strong than 6061, so it is used a lot in aerospace and marine applications.

Recyclability

Aluminum is highly recyclable, which is perfect for CNC machining , becasue CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing method which means there is a relatively large amount of waste material in the form of chips from the cutting tool. In this way CNC machining applications can use recyclable materials to reduce the cost of machined parts.

types of Aluminum alloy 

Wrought Aluminum Alloy 

Wrought aluminum alloys has a big portion of all kinds of aluminum alloys. they are divided into heat treatable and non-heat treatable alloys. they contain Copper, magnesium and zinc which provide their initial strength. Corresponding to series 2xxx, 6xxx, and 7xxx, Heat-treatable wrought aluminum alloys can be strengthened further through heat treatment. Non-Heat Treatable Aluminum Alloy is Corresponded to the 1xx, 3xx, and 5xx series of wrought alloys, it can be strengthened further through strain hardening or cold working.

Cast Aluminum Alloys

Cast aluminumalloys have a significant presence of silicon in its composition. they are created when aluminum is heated to extremely high temperatures. these alloys have a low tensile strength and can be used to create cost-efficient products.

How aluminum alloy named 

When we see the name of aluminum alloys.you may wonder what is number and letter means, such as 6061, 6061-T6, 7075-T651. as below , we take an example of 6061-T6 to explain to you:

the first number “6″ represents the aluminum alloy group,its detail meaning as blow:

  1. Industrial pure aluminum, 
  2. Aluminum-copper series alloy, 
  3. Aluminum-manganese series alloy, 
  4. Aluminum-silicon series alloy, 
  5. Aluminum-magnesium series alloy, 
  6. Aluminum-magnesium-silicon series alloy, 
  7. Aluminum-zinc-magnesium-copper series alloy, 
  8. Other alloys, 

the second numbder “0” Indicates the control of alloying elements or impurities’ maximum content as below:

  • 0: Original alloy, indicating no special control over impurity maximum content,
  • 1-9: Modified alloy, indicating special control over one or more individual impurities or alloying element maximum content.

the numbder “61″ represents a kind of alloys within the same group. the rest letter’s meaning as blow:

T6: Represents the base status code.

F: As-fabricated condition, suitable for products that do not require special hardening or heat treatment process during the forming process.

O: Annealed condition, results in a material that is more easily machined, tougher, and more ductile. It can be followed by a single-digit Arabic numeral except 0.

H: Strain-hardened condition, suitable for products made from non-heat-treatable aluminum alloys in series 1, 3, 5, etc., where strength is increased by strain hardening.

W: Solution heat-treated condition, an unstable condition applicable only to alloys that are naturally aged at room temperature after solution heat treatment.

T: Heat-treated condition, suitable for products made from heat-treatable aluminum alloys in series 2, 6, 7, etc., where the product reaches a stable state after heat treatment.

Aluminum SERIES

The Aluminum Association Inc. has approved over 400 wrought aluminum alloys. These alloys are categorized using the four-digit Wrought Alloy numbders, which are considered as properties such as thermal response, mechanical treatment, and primary alloy element.

  • This series contain 99% pure aluminum and small amount of silicon and iron.
  • it is suitable for electrical and chemical applications.
  • Series 1xxx alloys offer resistance to corrosion but have low mechanical properties.
  • They are easy to form and highly machinable.
  • Series 2xxx alloys are primarily copper-based.
  • they have excellent machinability.
  •  they are less reliable in terms of corrosion resistance and weldability.
  • These alloys have manganese as the predominant alloying element.
  • They offer moderate strength and excellent workability.
  • They are often used in applications require formability and corrosion resistance.
  • Silicon is the predominant alloying element in this series.
  • These alloys have good fluidity when molten, making them suitable for casting applications.
  • The primary elements in Series 5xxx are magnesium and manganese.
  • They have good strength and corrosion resistance.
  • These alloys are commonly uses include bridges, transportation projects, and marine applications.
  • Series 6xxx alloys have silicon and magnesium as the main alloy elements.
  • They offer mid level strength, high formability, and excellent corrosion resistance.
  • they are Widely used in industries like piping, electrical components, and consumer products.
  • Series 7xxx alloys have high strength, with alloying elements like zinc, copper, chromium and magnesium.
  • they offer high strength, but low machinability.
  • These alloys are used in across various industries including automotive, aerospace, marine and machinery manufacturing.

Common aluminum alloys for CNC machining 

Aluminum alloy 2024-T4 is primarily use is in the aerospace industry, including aircraft fuselages, transport vehicle components, and wing tension members.

Aluminum alloy 5052 have excellent corrosion resistance.It is often used in the marine industry, particularly in manufacturing marine equipment.

Aluminum alloy 6061-T6 is widely used in CNC machining becasue of the good balance between strength and machinability. it is used in across various applications including chassis manufacturing, bicycle frames, valves and computer components.

Aluminum alloy 6063 has moderate strength and high ductility, making it suitable for mold forming.

Aluminum alloy 6082 have higher tensile strength and corrosion resistance, it is Commonly used in construction for structures like bridges, towers and trusses.

Aluminum alloy 7075-T6 have high strength and corrosion resistance, it is used in aerospace and military industry for components such as aircraft fittings, missile parts and fuses.

Aluminum alloy MIC 6 stands out for its unique combination of alloy composition and casting methods, making it ideal for producing stable, high-tolerance plates. It offers an excellent balance of strength-to-weight ratios, precision, elasticity, and thermal stability. However, it should be noted that MIC 6 threads aren’t as robust, which engineers must consider during material selection.

Aluminum 6061 VS 7075: Definition and Differences

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Aluminum alloys are widely used in different machining process due to its lightweight, easy to be machined properties. Aluminum 6061 and Aluminum 7075 are mostly used in precision machining. but…

Common Aluminum alloys for EXTURSION

Aluminum alloys from the 6xxx series are particularly suitable for extrusion processes, and three specific alloys commonly find applications in extrusion:

Aluminum 6005 has corrosion resistance and moderate strength. This alloy contains silicon content, which lowers its melting point and enhances extrudability.

Aluminum 6063 are widely used in extrusion due to its ability to provide high-quality finishes and excellent corrosion resistance. This alloy are usually used in custom or standard aluminum extrusion designs such as structural pipes, seamless tubing, heat sinks, and more.

Compose of 98% aluminum with small amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, silicon, and zinc, 6463 aluminum have high density and yield strength. Aluminum alloys made from 6463 are used for bars, tubes, rods, wire, and various custom profiles.

Common Aluminum alloys for CASTING

Aluminum alloys for die casting have several types like aluminum-silicon, aluminum-copper, aluminum-magnesium, aluminum-zinc and more. The common grades for die-casting aluminum alloys are defined by the standards of Japan’s JIS and ANSI. The table below shows common die-casting grade series under various standards.

casting aluminum alloy type ANSI SAE J452JISDIN GB
AI-Si-Mg360309n/an/aYL104
A360309ADC3AlSi10Mg (Fe) YL101
AI-Si-CuA380306ADC10AlSi8Cu3FeYL112
A383383ADC12AlSi12(Cu)YL113
A384303ADC14AlSi12YL116
AI-SiA413305ADC6AlSi10MgYL102
C443304ADC7n/an/a
AI-Mg518n/aADC5AIMg9YL302

A360 have good formability, corrosion resistance, fatigue strength and medium static strength. Its applications include the manufacture of automobile oil pans, automobile controller shells, motor shells, 5G communication boxes, LED lamp housings and more.

A380 is the most common die casting material. It offers high versatility, load-bearing capacity and resistance to high-temperature splitting. It is used for products like electrical equipment chassis, engine mounts, gearboxes, furniture, generators and hand tools.

A383 is the most common die casting aluminum alloy used in the market. it is equivalent to ADC12 according to JIS standard. A383 offers improved corrosion resistance, resistance to hot cracking, fluidity, and strength at elevated temperatures compared to A380.

How to choose an Aluminum Grade?

before you chosse the aluminum, you will need to consider your machined parts requirement and the machining process you will use. some of general consideration as below:

Strength Requirements

from the above introduction of each aluminum alloy , you will find theire strength properties. Aluminum 7075 has the best strength among those.

Corrosion Resistance

Consider the environment in which your aluminum components will be exposed. Some aluminum alloys offer exceptional corrosion resistance like 5052 or 6061, known for their corrosion resistance.

Weldability

If your project requires welding, ensure that the chosen aluminum grade is weldable. aluminum 6061 is more weldable than 7075.

Machinability

if you will use aluminum alloy for CNC machining, it is better to choose the one easy to be machined. Aluminum 6061 has a good Machinability for machining.

Comparison table of Common aluminum alloy

Alloy TypeRecommended ForWeldabilityMachinabilityCorrosion ResistanceStrength
Alloy 1100Metal SpinningEasily GoodHighly Low 
Alloy 2024Aerospace ApplicationChallenging FairLimited High 
Alloy 3003Chemical EquipmentEasily Good Good Medium 
Alloy 5052Marine ApplicationsEasily Fair Excellent Medium 
Alloy 6061Structural ApplicationsExcellent  Good Excellent Medium 
Alloy 6063Architectural ApplicationsEasily Fair Good Medium 
Alloy 7075Aerospace ApplicationsChallenging Fair FairHigh 

Conclusion

Using a proper Aluminum alloys for your products is the key for quality. you may need to choose a professional supplier who are capable of managing different types of aluminum alloys. KUSLA have rich experiences of aluminum machining services can help you for your projects. contact us today to get a instant quotation.

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