Selecting the appropriate aluminum grade for your project depends on several key factors. Making the wrong choice could affect the integrity of your final application. To make it simpler, the metal suppliers at American Metal Supply based in Cincinnati, OH, and Louisville, KY, are here to explain how to narrow it down.
5 Points to Consider When Selecting an Aluminum Grade
1. Overall Strength
Strength is the most important factor if your structure requires something especially sturdy, such as for a car or aircraft. Consider how much stress the part will receive, and focus on the metal’s strength-to-weight ratio in order to make the most appropriate choice. Strong aluminum can withstand regular wear and tear and will perform well under duress.
2. Welding Ability
Aluminum is weaker than the original material after it’s been welded. Heat can reduce its integrity significantly, so if you do plan to weld, it’s vital to seek a grade that is conducive to that process. This aluminum will need to be treated after welding to restore any mechanical strength that might be lost during the heating process.
3. Corrosion Protection
Required especially for exterior applications or in industries involving food or chemicals, corrosion-resistant aluminum is critical to the longevity of the project. Some varieties, like 1000 grade aluminum, are not heat-treatable, and are extremely easy to use in different products. On the other hand, 6061 grade aluminum is also resistant to corrosion and can be heat brazed. Consider the aluminum’s purpose to make your final decision.
4. Machining Factor
Certain grades are softer and more malleable, making them friendlier for machining purposes without losing valuable strength that might otherwise affect the final product. You may visit a metal supplier for 1000 grade aluminum sheets, squares, or tubes to make anything from truck body parts to structural elements.
5. Heat Treatment
Alloys that are heat-treatable are those that can be significantly strengthened or otherwise positively affected through heating. Sometimes heating is used to improve the application’s ductility, to release stress on a particular part, or to create a more stable and secure product.
For everything from aluminum sheets to structural steel, locals trust American Metal Supply. They offer the raw materials you need to complete your application, but these metal suppliers can also assist in the fabrication of your project by creating product-specific components. The metal suppliers go the extra mile to make sure your needs are met, and will even call on the services of their partners if necessary to ensure you’re satisfied. Visit their revamped website to learn more about their extensive product selection. Or, call them in Louisville at (502) 634-4321 or in Cincinnati at (513) 396-6600.