Aluminum is a versatile metal that’s frequently used in the manufacturing industry. It’s lightweight, readily available, and can be mended to form different shapes. But there are certain applications that call for a different type of metal, in which case aluminum alloy may be used instead. So, what exactly is aluminum alloy? To learn more about this metal and its respective properties, keep reading.
Aluminum alloy is a type of metal in which aluminum is the main metal. Like other alloys, however, it has at least one other secondary metal. Some of the most common secondary metals used in the production of aluminum alloy include copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc. It’s important to note that the secondary metal directly influences the properties of alloy aluminum. This is why it’s important for manufacturers and consumers to choose the right type. Different aluminum alloys will have different properties, depending on which secondary metal or metals are used in its production.
So, how is aluminum alloy used in today’s day and age? There are countless applications for this group of versatile metals, one of the most common being aerospace. Aluminum itself is an incredibly lightweight metal, which of course is an attractive characteristic for use in aerospace applications. The problem with pure aluminum, however, is that it’s weak — weaker than many other, heavier metals. This had prompted many companies to combine aluminum with a secondary metal to achieve the same (or similar) lightweight properties of pure aluminum but with greater strength; thus, leading to aluminum alloy.
The quality of aluminum alloy also varies depending on several factors, some of which include how it was made, who made it, the secondary metals used in its production, and whether or not it contains contaminants. Higher quality aluminum alloy should contain little-to-no impurities, making it ideal for use in aerospace applications.
A distinguishable characteristic of aluminum alloy is the presence of a white layer over the aluminum oxide. However, this phenomenon only occurs if the metal has been left unprotected by anodizing and painting. Galvanic corrosion may also occur when aluminum alloy is placed in direct contact with other metals that boast a more positive corrosion than aluminum.
Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of aluminum alloy and its properties.