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The factors that determine aluminium application

The factors that determine aluminum application

The only valid reason for choosing a material is that it performs required functions at the lowest over-all cost. This result can be achieved in three general ways:

  • First, the chosen material may be lower in first cost.
  • Second, it may be more economical in the long run because of lower maintenance costs.
  • Third, it may have special characteristics peculiarly suiting it to the application.

Although this third factor may be combined with one or both of the others, discussion is simplified by considering each factor separately.

First Cost

There are a few applications for which aluminum is more economical than practical alternates simply on the basis of ingot price; electrical conductor is the outstanding example. Copper is the only other general-purpose metal used for conductors, and aluminum is less expensive even on a per-pound basis.

To make a realistic comparison of the basic cost of copper versus aluminum for conducting electricity, the conductivity and density of the two materials must be considered. Electrical conductor (EC) grade aluminum is rated at 63% IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard). Combining this conductivity measure, which is on a volume basis, with the densities of the two metals yields the result that 0.22 kg of aluminum has the same conductive capability as 0.45 kg of copper. To complete the cost comparison it is, of course, necessary to make allowances for fabricating both materials into final form.

The complete analysis of cost usually leaves aluminum with a clear advantage when the conductors are large, as for transmission or distribution lines. For smaller conductors, such as house wiring, the saving in cost of the wire is generally not sufficient to justify the effort required of the small user to learn to handle a new material. With very fine wire, such as is employed for winding fractional horsepower motors for household appliances, fabricating costs overshadow metal cost, and copper is normally used. This example of electrical conductors illustrates one type of relationship of metal cost to over-all cost of final product.

A similar situation exists in the competition between zinc and aluminum in die-castings. Aluminum is cheaper on a volume basis, and this results in a price advantage for aluminum in large castings. Smaller parts, and those that have very thin sections, usually cost less in zinc because its lower casting temperature permits longer die life, better lubrication, and thinner sections. Aluminum die-castings have the advantage of lightweight, but zinc is more economical to chromium plate. Automotive usage of the two materials reflects these influences.

Stainless steel is frequently in competition with aluminum for parts and structures requiring resistance to weathering or other corrosive environments. The ingot price advantage of aluminum is maintained in fabricated products such as sheet and plate.

There are a few applications where lead and aluminum are in competition; price favors aluminum. Although these two metals are similar in their ability to withstand the effects of time and atmosphere, they are otherwise so different that comparisons are difficult, unless a specific application is considered.

Steel has the largest share of the metal market, largely because of its ability to fulfill so many, varied requirements at the lowest cost. Aluminum is more economical than steel only when one or more of its special characteristics can be utilized.

Cost Over Service Life

A most important factor contributing to the increasing use of aluminum for outdoor structures is the low cost of keeping it presentable in appearance and sound structurally, with minimum expense for field chipping, spot priming, and repainting. Many highway accessory items, such as signs, railings, and lighting standards, are so expensive to paint in the field that the cost of a single repainting equals the additional price of aluminum. Sometimes the cost of shutting down equipment for painting or other maintenance is an important consideration. Aluminum structural alloys have been used in outdoor electric switching stations on this basis for nearly 20 years.

The widespread use of aluminum for house siding, rain-carrying equipment, and other items for residential construction stem from consumer appreciation of the ease of maintaining aluminum.

A final consideration in the over-all cost of any piece of equipment or structure is its residual or scrap value. Aluminum can be remelted with little loss due to oxidation, and even rather complex structures such as aircraft justify the effort of reclaiming them for the metal values contained. Good melting scrap is readily marketable, and this factor should be considered in assessing the over-all cost of an aluminum structure.

Performance

Every application of aluminum involves consideration of its performance compared to that of other materials. Lightweight is the basic reason for using aluminum in all types of transportation equipment, as well as in moving and movable parts in general. The list of applications predicated on lightness is almost endless, but other capabilities are usually required, to the extent that it is sometimes difficult to assign a top priority.

The universal use of aluminum for aircraft structures probably represents the most exacting — and at the same time the most economically rewarding — use of the highest-strength aluminum alloys where weight saving is the primary requirement. A conservative figure for the value of a pound of “lightness” in a modern long-range civil transport is $2500.

Resistance to weathering is equal in importance to light weight in number of applications and volume of metal consumed. Those aluminum alloys that are especially formulated for outdoor exposure are regularly used without paint or other protective finish. Numerous installations have been exposed for 30 years with no loss of structural integrity, an acceptable level of architectural appearance, and no maintenance other than the cleaning effects of rain.

Closely associated with its resistance to weathering is the performance of aluminum in combination with organic coatings. Properly applied paint coatings on aluminum exhibit maximum adhesion, and local penetrations of the coating seldom expand. This characteristic is largely responsible for the extensive application of aluminum siding for residences.

High electrical conductivity was mentioned before compared with other metals. Even when reason ruble conductor size and nonmagnetic characteristics are of no concern (as in the third rail for electric railroads using direct current), aluminum can provide a given current-carrying capacity at a lower per-foot cost than steel, copper, or any other material.

High thermal conductivity of aluminum parallels its high electrical conductivity. Heat exchange equipment, including cooking utensils, requires many other characteristics; thus, thermal conductivity does not control the application to the same extent that electrical conductivity does in its field. However, aluminum is used where the basic function is conduction of heat; its other capabilities contribute to the final choice.

The chief function of the cast aluminum sole plate in a hand iron is the conducting of heat from the heating element to the cloth. The lightweight is attractive to the housewife, and manufacturing economy (the element is “cast-in”, and no protective finish is required) results in a favorable price.

The low modulus of aluminum causes complications in applications where space is strictly limited and deflection also must be held to a minimum. Such conditions are rare, and they are perhaps balanced by other situations where a large elastic deflection is desirable. Aluminum diving boards utilize the large deflection resulting from low modulus, and truck bodies for hauling rock also exploit the increased energy absorption in resisting permanent denting. It is interesting to note that a considerable group of important structural materials have nearly the same ratio of modulus of elasticity to density. Steel, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium are close. Wood is not far from this range. Copper, lead, and cast iron are much heavier in relation to modulus, whereas beryllium is lighter by a factor of about 4 in relation to its modulus of elasticity.

Aluminum alloys, in general, are somewhat less permeable to magnetic fields than air (paramagnetic). Uses resulting from this characteristic are not many, but permeability is an important contributing characteristic in some applications.

Low-temperature applications of aluminum rely on the fact that aluminum does not become brittle at temperatures at least as low as -423°F (-252°C, the boiling point of hydrogen).

High reflectance for visible, ultraviolet and infrared radiation makes aluminum the choice for many types of reflectors.

Aluminum is receptive to a number of unique finishes, including anodic oxide coatings, chemical conversion coatings, and special finishes for reflectors involving a combination of electrolytic or chemical brightening for high reflectance and an anodic coating for long life even in outdoor exposure.

Some other characteristics of aluminum that do not warrant discussion here but should be mentioned are: short half life of aluminum 28, low absorption for x-rays, high affinity of oxygen, high resistance to sparking, and colorless corrosion products.

Copy from Magnize

In depth information about aluminium

In depth information about aluminium

Aluminium is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances. Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. Aluminium is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as a free metal. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief source of aluminium is bauxite ore.

Aluminium is the most widely used non-ferrous metal. Global production of aluminium in 2005 was 31.9 million tonnes. It exceeded that of any other metal except iron (837.5 million tonnes). Forecast for 2012 is 42–45 million tons, driven by rising Chinese output. Relatively pure aluminium is encountered only when corrosion resistance and/or workability is more important than strength or hardness.

Aluminium is a soft, durable, lightweight, ductile and malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. Aluminium is nonmagnetic and non-sparking. It is also insoluble in alcohol, though it can be soluble in water in certain forms. The yield strength of pure aluminium is 7–11 MPa, while aluminium alloys have yield strengths ranging from 200 MPa to 600 MPa. Aluminium has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is easily machined, cast, drawn and extruded.

 
Aluminium is remarkable for the metal’s low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. Structural components made from aluminium and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and are very important in other areas of transportation and building. Its reactive nature makes it useful as a catalyst or additive in chemical mixtures, including ammonium nitrate explosives, to enhance blast power.
Corrosion resistance can be excellent due to a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide that forms when the metal is exposed to air, effectively preventing further oxidation. The strongest aluminium alloys are less corrosion resistant due to galvanic reactions with alloyed copper. This corrosion resistance is also often greatly reduced when many aqueous salts are present, particularly in the presence of dissimilar metals.

Aluminium is 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities. Recovery of the metal via recycling has become an important facet of the aluminium industry. Recycling involves melting the scrap, a process that requires only 5% of the energy used to produce aluminium from ore, though a significant part (up to 15% of the input material) is lost as dross (ash-like oxide). The aluminum dross can undergo a further process by aluminum dross processing machine to extract aluminium.

Aluminium metal can be used in:

1 Construction (aluminium windows, aluminium door, aluminum profiles, aluminum extrusion, aluminum alloy,siding, building wire ETC)
2 Transportation (automobiles, aircraft, trucks, railway cars, marine vessels, bicycles etc.) as sheet, tube, castings etc.
3 Packaging (cans, foil, etc)
4 A wide range of household items, from cooking utensils to baseball bats, watches.
5 Street lighting poles, sailing ship masts, walking poles etc.
6 Outer shells of consumer electronics, also cases for equipment e.g. photographic equipment.
7 Electrical transmission lines for power distribution
8 Super purity aluminium (SPA, 99.980% to 99.999% Al), used in electronics and CDs.
9 aluminium Heat sinks for electronic appliances such as transistors and CPUs.
10 Substrate materials of metal-core copper clad laminates used in high brightness LED lighting.
11Powdered aluminium is used in paint, and in pyrotechnics such as solid rocket fuels and thermite
12 Aluminium can be reacted with hydrochloric acid to form hydrogen gas.

 

6063 aluminium alloy Uses

6063 aluminium alloy uses

Uses
6063 aluminium alloy is used for architectural fabrication, window and door frames, pipe and tubing, and aluminium furniture.

Welding
6063 aluminium alloy is highly weldable, using tungsten inert gas welding. Typically, after welding, the properties near the weld are those of 6063-0, a loss of strength of up to 30%. The material can be re-heat-treated to restore a higher temper for the whole piece.

Extrusions
6063 is widely used in the production of extrusions – long constant-cross-section structural shapes produced by pushing metal through a shaped die. These include “L” and “U” shaped channels and angles.

aluminium extrusion

Aluminum extrusion, a revolution in the aluminum Industry

Aluminium Extrusion - A Revolution in the Aluminum Industry

Aluminium extrusion – A process by which aluminum is forced into a custom made die and results in a constant cross section that utilizes all the properties of the metal.
Aluminum is used in many different industries as it is one of the most versatile and readily available metals on the planet. The benefits of using aluminum to create products are widespread – it is light weight yet very strong and durable, it is an excellent thermal conductor – both to dissipate and reflect heat, it can conduct electricity, it is easily machinable and malleable, virtually impossible to corrode and costs incredibly low! All these aspects show the virtues of aluminum both for the manufacturer and the consumer.
Aluminum extrusion has revolutionized the aluminum industry for many reasons; it has taken away the restraints that held many designs back. Using a die means that any aluminum shape can be created to the designers exact specifications without any loss of constant cross section and tension in the metal. The dies used in aluminum extrusion are cheap to make and they have a long life, which makes them highly cost effective for the manufacturer. Using a die also means that there is no additional machining involved in the process which can result in additional waste and costs, similarly there is no need for fabrication through welding. Welding can create high additional costs that do not decrease significantly through the reproduction of the same part, not only does this take extra labor but also creates more expense as the welding jigs used are often more expensive than the aluminum extrusion die.
Aluminum extrusion has additional benefits to the manufacturer that help resolve the problems of additional costs if using a sand or permanent mould casting. The main one begin that aluminum extrusion eliminates the need for finishing after it is taken from the die. Using other methods produces a very rough finish that requires sanding and polishing before it can be classed as finished. Aluminum extrusion produces a highly smooth surface that does not require any further finishing. Aluminum extrusion is without a doubt the most cost effective and reliable way of creating any design shape using aluminum without having to compromise on anything. It is a huge step for the industry and it means that more complex aluminum designs can be created with ease and to the exact specifications of the designer. Previously to this many designs could not be created due to the restraints of the production process. Today this notion is unheard of due to aluminum extrusion and everything from car parts to tubing can be custom made with ease and reduced costs.
Aluminum extrusion means that a business no longer has to be restricted by what the traditional methods of fabricating aluminum presented them with, now the only limitations are a designer’s imagination.