There are many reasons why manufacturers choose to work with aluminum alloy to create the parts, products, and components they require for quality production. Aluminum checks all the boxes: it is highly recyclable and environmentally friendly, cost-effective and plentiful, malleable and easy to shape, plus it has many unique inherent qualities that can enhance the product for its intended use. Extrusion adds a whole new element to the production and increases the advantages of using aluminum. The techniques used to create extruded aluminum can help to make it stronger, more durable and increase the tensile strength of custom designs or rod and bar aluminum. It is essential to choose the best aluminum alloys for extrusion to help you achieve your development goals.
The Infamous Strength-to-Weight Ratio
One of the most significant advantages of aluminum alloy is that it is approximately one-third the weight of steel, iron, copper, and brass, making it easier to handle, cheaper to ship, and attractive for industries seeking to make significant reductions in weight. Consumer vehicles, public transportation, aerospace, military and defense, and the trucking industry are just some examples of ways that a lighter-weight metal can work to your advantage. The other side of the coin is strength, which aluminum has in abundance. Through the process of using aluminum alloys for extrusion, the aluminum can be made as strong as needed for most applications, including structural load-bearing and load-carrying performance.
Cold Weather Applications
While steel becomes brittle in freezing temperatures, aluminum becomes stronger as the temperatures fall. This makes extruded aluminum an excellent choice for cold weather applications and environments, where strength and durability are required for use or operation. The aluminum alloy itself is highly resilient and can even flex under loads or spring back from the shock of impact. This is why custom and standard aluminum extrusion has become so valuable to the transportation industries.
Thermal and Electrical Conduction
While it’s not all about temperature, there are some situations where temperature and thermal considerations are king. Extruded aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and cold much better than other commonly used metals. This makes aluminum perfect for use in designing and manufacturing applications that require heat exchangers or heat dissipation. The flexibility of designing a custom profile helps our developers optimize thermal conduction and heat dissipation in the creation of housings and other related types of components. Aluminum is also an excellent electrical conductor. Pound for pound, aluminum is twice as conductive as copper, making it a much more cost-effective alternative.
Resistance to Corrosion
Another popular attribute of aluminum is its natural oxide layer of protection, which forms when exposed to the air. This protective layer helps to reduce abrasive damage and corrosion, including rust. If the anti-corrosive layer becomes damaged when the metal is cut or scratched, it immediately heals itself to provide protection to the newly exposed areas of the metal. This protection can be further enhanced by the use of finishing services, including powder-coating, anodizing, or painting. We can provide these additional services right here at our Southeastern Massachusetts facility to help our clients achieve their goals, reduce lead times, and create a superior product.
Non-Magnetic, Non-Sparking, Non-Toxic, and Non-Combustible
There are four more attributes of extruded aluminum that can be a significant advantage to many industries. Aluminum is naturally non-sparking, which makes it perfect for applications that involve the use of explosive materials or that would be used in an environment that is highly flammable. One way to identify aluminum from other metals is to test it with a magnet. Aluminum is non-magnetic, which means it is well-suited for high-voltage applications or in the design of electronics, where magnetic fields must be considered. Being non-combustible means that it will not burn – even at extremely high temperatures. When exposed to heat or any other extreme environment, aluminum does not emit toxic fumes, which makes it ideal for many different types of uses where toxicity is a concern.
Aluminum Alloys for Extrusion
The many advantages of using aluminum can make it a clear choice for use in manufacturing for many different industries. Whether you want a standard profile to create rod and bar aluminum or wish to go the custom route to create unique shapes and dies for extruded aluminum, Silver City Aluminum can help you achieve your goals. Contact our team today by calling 508-542-7200 to speak with a team member about your needs and discuss the different design options and aluminum alloys for extrusion.