There are two basic types of aluminum alloys: heat treatable and non-heat treatable. Non-heat treatable alloys get their strength from the alloying elements used in casting. Subsequent forming operations also strengthen these alloys.
In addition to getting strength from alloying elements, heat treatable alloys also have distinct properties which enable them to gain strength through a heating and water quenching process.
Non-Heat Treatable Alloys
Includes 1050 – 1090, 1100, 1200 and others. Considered commercially pure aluminum, this series is the softest of aluminum alloys but is very ductile and offers excellent machining, forming and welding characteristics, as well as very high corrosion resistance and good electrical conductivity. Uses include lighting reflectors, chemical and food processing vessels, as well as packaging, electrical wiring, transformer conductor coil, and decorative applications.
Available at Meyer Aluminum Blanks – 1050, 1070, 1080, 1090, and 1100 – Tempers O, H12 – H18
Includes 3002, 3003, 3004, 3105 and others. 3003 is one of the most commonly used aluminum alloys. The main alloying ingredient is Manganese, which gives it greater strength than 1100 while retaining most of the desirable qualities of the 1XXX Series. Due to its excellent formability, 3003 has a wide range of uses including cookware.
The chemical makeup of 3004 is very similar to 3003. The addition of Magnesium gives it strengths approaching 5052 along with great corrosion resistance and good formability. These properties make 3004 a good candidate for storage tanks, pressure vessels and cookware.
3105 alloy is similar to 3003, but with wider tolerance ranges for the alloying elements of Copper, Magnesium, Chromium, Titanium and Zinc. Due to the wider allowable tolerance ranges, 3105 is typically used for less critical building material applications, such as roofing, siding, flashing and ductwork.
3002 contains small amounts of both Manganese and Magnesium. It is a specialty alloy, carefully manufactured to accept anodizing without showing streaks or stripes. The main use for 3002 is lighting reflectors.
Available at Meyer Aluminum Blanks – 3002, 3003 and 3004 – Tempers O, H12 – H18, H22 – H28
Includes 5005, 5052, 5154, plus many others. The main alloying ingredient in 5052 is Magnesium, which helps make it one of the strongest non-heat treatable alloys available. It is highly resistant to saltwater corrosion and performs well in welding and forming operations. It also keeps it strength when cooled to extreme temperatures, making it a good choice for cryogenic applications. Other uses include marine products, aircraft components, highway structures, and commercial transportation parts.
Available at Meyer Aluminum Blanks – 5052, 5454 – Tempers O, H32 – H38
Heat Treatable Alloys
A very popular series that gains its strength from Magnesium and Silicon. 6061 is one of the more versatile alloys, due to mechanical properties that give it high corrosion resistance and make it well-suited for spinning, forming, welding, and extruding. Common uses include structural building and heavy equipment members, bridges, trusses and beer barrels.
Available at Meyer Aluminum Blanks – 6061 – Temper O
This series comprises alloys that use less common elements, including Tin, Iron, Nickel and Lithium. The Lithium alloys are attractive for some aerospace applications due to their very light weight, high strength and increased ability to stretch without breaking. Other uses for 8XXX alloys include cookware, conductor material, and some high temperature applications.
Available at Meyer Aluminum Blanks – 8128 – Temper – O, H12- H14, H22 – H24