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7 Things to Consider When Choosing an Aluminum Grade


Aluminum comes in many different shapes and grades. The type of aluminum grade you choose ultimately depends on how you intend to use the metal. Your intended use allows you to rank the characteristics of each grade from most important to least important. This will help you narrow down the list of suitable grades. For example, if weldability is most important to your project, but strength is not, it may make sense to choose Alloy 1100, as this aluminum grade has excellent Weldability, but is not typically used for high-strength or high-pressure applications.

Use the quick reference chart at the end of this article to quickly and easily find the aluminum grade that is right for you.

When choosing an aluminum grade, consider if the following are important factors:

  • Formability or Workability
  • Weldability
  • Machining
  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Heat Treating
  • Strength
  • Typical end use applications

Is Formability or Workability (the fashioning parts through mechanical deformation) an important factor?

Is the Weldability of the Aluminum an important factor?

Is the Machining of the Aluminum an important factor?

  • Alloy 1100 – Good Machinability (Best if Hard Temper)
  • Alloy 2011 – Excellent Machinability
  • Alloy 2024 – Fair Machinability (Best in Annealed Condition)
  • Alloy 3003 – Good Machinability
  • Alloy 5052 – Fair Machinability (Better if Hard Temper)
  • Alloy 6061 – Good Machinability (T4 and T6 Tempers only)
  • Alloy 6063 – Fair Machinability
  • Alloy 7075 – Fair Machinability (Best in Annealed Condition)

Is Corrosion Resistance of the Aluminum an important factor?

Is Heat Treating of the Aluminum an important factor?

Is the Strength of the Aluminum an important factor?

Typical end use applications of Aluminum Grades:

Quick Reference Chart – Choosing an Aluminum Grade

Formability or Workability Weldability Machining Corrosion Resistance Heat Treating Strength Typical Applications
Alloy 1100 Excellent Excellent Good Excellent No Low Metal Spinning
Alloy 2011 Good Poor Excellent Poor Yes High General Machining
Alloy 2024 Good Poor Fair Poor Yes High Aerospace Application
Alloy 3003 Excellent Excellent Good Good No Medium Chemical Equipment
Alloy 5052 Good Good Fair Excellent No Medium Marine Applications
Alloy 6061 Good Good Good Excellent Yes Medium Structural Applications
Alloy 6063 Good Good Fair Good Yes Medium Architectural Applications
Alloy 7075 Poor Poor Fair Average Yes High Aerospace Applications

 

Disclaimer: Please note this information is not to be used for design purposes, and in no event shall MSFFC be liable for any damages arising from the misuse of this information.


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