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Sheet metal materials-Pure aluminum

Pure aluminum is soft and ductile and most commercial uses require greater strength than pure aluminum affords. So, strength is achieved by the addition of other elements to produce alloys. Further strengthening is possible by means which classify the alloys into roughly two categories, non-heat-treatable (alloyed with manganese, silicon, iron, and magnesium) and heat-treatable (alloyed with copper, magnesium, zinc, and silicon).

Aluminum is available in a wide variety of alloys to meet specific applications. This article focuses on the alloys commonly used by DSM in precision sheet metal.

1100-H14 (QQ-A-250/1d)
    Commercially pure aluminum, highly resistant to chemical attack and weathering. Excellent for chemical processing equipment and other uses where product purity is important. Easily worked and welded, ductile enough for deep draws, but the lowest strength aluminum alloy. Uses include light reflectors, decorative and jewelry parts, name plates. Seldom used in precision sheet metal -- see 5052-H32.

3003-H14 (QQ-A-250/2c)
    General purpose manganese alloy. Stronger than 1100 with same good formability and low cost. Fine corrosion resistance and weldability. Used in stampings, spun and drawn parts, mail boxes, cabinets, tanks, fan blades. For higher strength, consider 5052-H32.

5052-H32 (QQ-A-250/8d)
    Main alloy is magnesium. Far stronger than any of the alloys described above, yet forms well with reasonable inside bend radii. Corrosion resistance and weldability is very good. Better salt water corrosion resistance than 1100. Used for electronic chassis, tanks, pressure vessels and any number of parts requiring considerable strength and formability at reasonable cost. Anodizing may be slightly yellowish.

6061-T6 (QQ-A-250/11d)
    Alloyed with magnesium & silicon. Heat treatable to improve strength. A widely used structural alloy for light to medium strength applications. Requires much larger inside bend radii than 5052-H32, but can be formed. Combines good weldability, corrosion resistance, and strength after heat treatment. Since it looses appreciable strength when welded, the 5000 series alloys replace it in dump body and some marine applications.

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