An aluminum alloy is a chemical composition in which other elements are added to pure aluminum to enhance its properties—primarily to improve its strength. The elements often added to aluminum include:
They can sometimes make up at least 15% of the final alloy by weight.
Every aluminum alloy is assigned a four-digit number. The first digit identifies the general class, or series, that is characterized by its main alloying elements. The types of alloys include:
- Commercially pure alloys
- Heat-treatable alloys
- Non-heat-treatable alloys
Temper designations for non-heat-treatable alloys are indicated by a suffix added to the alloy number.
Some key characteristics of aluminum alloys are:
- High strength-to-weight ratio
- Flexible and malleable
- Shiny and smooth decorative finish that requires little maintenance
- Thermal and electrical conductivity
- Low temperature resistance
Aluminum alloys provide a variety of benefits, particularly for applications that need strength without heavy weight. The alloys are one of the lightest metals used in commercial projects, and they often appear in applications for the transportation industry because reductions in weight help with fuel savings. Furthermore, aluminum alloys’ light weight and natural corrosion resistance result in the parts lasting longer as well as allowing them to be made from significantly less raw material. Since aluminum is flexible and malleable, metal stamping can form aluminum and aluminum alloys into complex geometric shapes.
Aluminum alloy applications include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Aluminum cans
- Building & construction
- Foil & packaging
- Electronics & appliances
Aluminum Alloys for Metal Stamping
There are three main aluminum alloys used for metal stamping:
- 1100: Commercially pure aluminum. It is ductile and soft, with good workability. It’s useful for applications that require intricate forming because it hardens slower than other alloys. Common applications include kitchenware, decorative trim, and giftware.
- 3003: The most frequently used of all aluminum alloys. It is commercially pure aluminum with manganese added, which increases its strength by about 20% over 1100. It has great corrosion-resistance and workability, allowing it to be welded, deep drawn or spun, or brazed. Common applications include cooking utensils, kitchen equipment, and chemical equipment.
- 5052: The highest strength alloy of the common non-heat-treatable grades. Its fatigue strength is better than other alloys, and it has excellent resistance to the marine atmosphere and saltwater corrosion. It has optimal workability and good finishing characteristics. Its common applications include aircraft components, home appliances, and heavy-duty cooking utensils.
When choosing an aluminum grade, there are a few factors to consider:
- Its level of formability or workability
- Its level of corrosion-resistance
- Heat treating
- Typical end-use applications
Contact Us for the Top Selection of Aluminum Alloys
For the best turnaround time and price, Keats Manufacturing recommends selecting common gauge and common alloys. Since 1958, we have been crafting stamped metal parts to each client’s needs. We have a strict adherence to our quality control system, ensuring that your customer satisfaction and confidence are our top priority.
Over the decades, unique projects and parts have come through our facility. Decisions for design details and custom tooling influence the performance of the parts, but the material used is always the most critical decision made in the manufacturing process.