You may wish to use aluminum in a DIY project (such as fabricating a replacement part for your boat) but you do not know which grade of aluminum is best suited for that purpose. Read on and discover the common grades of aluminum and their unique properties.
Series 1 Aluminum Alloys
Aluminum is combined with different metals to form aluminum alloys that have different properties for different fabrication purposes and processes. Series 1 aluminum contains alloys such as Alloy 1100. This grade of aluminum has very good anti-corrosion properties. It is also very good at conducting heat and electricity. However, this alloy is not ideal for use in situations where it will be subjected to high pressure because it is not very strong. For example, you should not use it to make exhaust parts that will be subjected to gases emitted at high pressure.
Series 2 Aluminum Alloys
The alloys in this series have a low corrosion resistance. It may therefore be advisable for you to pick another grade of alloy if you wish to fabricate a component that will be exposed to water (such as a plate for the hull of your boat). Alloys in this series can also be damaged easily during the welding process. However, Series 2 aluminum can be machined easily using tools such as bench presses to shape the sheet metal.
Series 3 Aluminum Alloys
These alloys (such as 3004, A360 and 3003 aluminum) are very strong and cannot be damaged during the machining process. These alloys are good for use in components that will be used to handle food because the alloy does not easily alter its chemical composition.
Series 4 Aluminum Alloys
These are made by adding silicon to aluminum to form an alloy. Alloys in these series are mainly used for making welding wires or materials used to join different pieces of aluminum together. You should therefore avoid ordering this material for any other purpose other than for joining other aluminum pieces.
Series 5 Aluminum Alloys
These alloys are corrosion resistant so they can be used to make marine parts. They are also not affected during the welding process. They can also be easily machined. However, Series 5 aluminum alloys are more expensive than alloys in lower series.
You can pick from other aluminum alloy series (such as series 6, 7, and 8) for your DIY project. Contact an aluminum supplier for technical help in choosing the most appropriate aluminum grade for your specific project.
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