Metals such as steel, aluminum and others, in different alloys and tempers, are used for manufacturing products in different shapes (sheets and plates, bars/rods, tubes, wires, etc.). They are widely encountered in aerospace, automotive and many other industrial sectors. Sourced from quality producers, most of them are offered as part of our own branded (AVIATIONEU NEW ERA) product lines. They are available in pre-cut dimensions or cut-to-oder, meeting different specifications and in diferent units of sale, (pieces or tons) depending on the wanted order quantity and requirements. This article focuses on most popular steel and aluminum alloys used for manufacturing of products commonly demanded by our customers.
AL2024, the so-called aircraft aluminum, is an aluminium alloy, with copper as the primary alloying element. This alloy is used in applications requiring high strength to weight ratio, as well as good fatigue resistance, weldablility and average machinability. It comes in different tempers (O without heat treatment or T with heat treatment). Due to the poor corrosion resistance of this alloy it is often clad (specified as CLAD or ALCLAD) in which case high-purity aluminium surface layers are metallurgically bonded to the aluminium alloy core material.
AL5052 is an aluminium alloy, with magnesium and chromium as the primary alloying elements. It is frequently used for general sheet metal work, heat exchangers, flooring panels, rivets and wires, chemical drums and other equipment, pressure vessels, treadplate, containers, and applications. Although It is non heat-treatable, it is the highest strength alloy of the more non-heat-treatable grades. Its resistance to fatigue is better than most grades of aluminum. Alloy 5052 has a good marine atmosphere corrosion resistance of saltwater and excellent workability. This alloy is comparable to the 6061 aluminum alloy (AL6061).
AL6061 is an aluminium alloy, with magnesium and silicon as its major alloying elements. When heat-treated, 6061 aluminum alloys are a great choice for general purpose uses and find many applications in structural materials, electronics, chemical equipment, and others. This alloy features high strength, good corrosion resistance, weldability, and machinability. It comes in different tempers such as O (annealed), or tempered grades 6061-T4 and 6061-T6. Compared to AL2024, 2024 aluminum’s yield strength surpasses 6061 aluminum’s and generally selected if strength is a priority. Furthermore, AL2024 has a higher modulus of elasticity that 6061 aluminum bearing more stress without permanently changing shape and therefore a better choice for forming applications. In terms of machinability, 6061 aluminum is one of the most popular machining alloys and therefore often preferred if machining procedures are necessary for a project.
AL7050 (known as a commercial aerospace alloy) is a heat-treatable aluminium alloy with zinc as the main alloying element, combining high mechanical strength, good stress corrosion cracking resistance and toughness at subzero temperatures. It features an excellent resistance to exfoliation corrosion. Particularly suited to heavy plate aerospace and other commercial and military applications, such as fuselage frames, bulkheads, wing skins and aircraft structures. Aluminum 7050 alloy can be hardened by precipitation heat treatment. It can be heat treated at 477°C (890°F) and cold worked using conventional methods. Welding should be avoided with Aluminum 7050, as the process weakens the alloy.
Aluminum alloy 7075 (AL7075) is another "aircraft grade" aluminum with zinc and copper as its major alloying elements. Like aluminum alloy 2024, AL7075 is a flexible and durable aluminum alloy extremely useful in highly stressed parts. Typically used in aerospace and defense, automotive, manufacturing and other applications requiring lighter weight and durable materials. This alloy features a high strength, low density (high strength-to-weight ratio), but also thermal properties and ability to be polished which makes AL7075 a preferred choice for the mold making industry. AL7075 is available in various tempers, such as O (annealed) or tempered grades 7075-T6, and 7075-T651.
2000 series aluminum alloys used in tubing, with copper as the primary alloying element, are a set of "hard alloys". They typically contain between 2 to 10% copper, with smaller additions of other elements. The copper provides substantial increases in strength and facilitates precipitation hardening but can also reduce ductility and corrosion resistance. These alloys are known for high performance and excellent strength over a broad range of temperatures but can be the most challenging to weld. They find use in many industries, including the aerospace sector.
AISI/SAE(*) 1020 is a low hardenability and low tensile carbon steel alloy with Brinell hardness of 119 - 235 and tensile strength of 410 - 790 MPa. It features high machinability, high ductility, high strength, and good weldability. It is normally used in turned and polished or a cold drawn condition offering high machinability and can be used for drilling, turning, milling and tapping operations using suitable feeds, tool type and speeds. It can be welded by the most common welding processes. Due to its low carbon content, it is resistant to induction hardening or flame hardening. As an alternative to achieve a hardness value of more than Rc65, carburization or carbon nitriding can be performed, offering certain benefits over standard carburizing. This steel alloy is similar to SAE-AISI 4130 as they are both iron alloys. They have 98% of their alloy composition in common. They are commonly used in structural applications. Common uses of AISI 1020 steel include simple structural applications as well as manufacturing of axles, general engineering and machinery parts and components, shafts and camshafts, gudgon pins, ratchets, light duty gears and spindles.
AISI/SAE(*) 4140 and 4130 low steel alloys have the same elemental composition, with common elements being carbon, molybdenum, chromium. They are popular steel materials due to properties such as toughness, high fatigue strength, and strength. Both steel variants do not have anti-rust properties. To make them stronger they need to be subjected to heat treatment such as annealing, cold working, etc. Steel alloy 4130 (ST4130), also known as Chromoly or Chrome Moly after the 2 key elements of its composition, chromium, and molybdenum, is a general-purpose alloy steel widely used by the aviation and motorsports industries due to its weldability, fabrication, and mild hardenability in all offered forms (tubes, bars, sheets and plates). Steel alloy 4140 (ST4140) is harder than normal steel remaining unbroken in heavy loading conditions. It is susceptible to rust although it is highly resistant to corrosion. 4140 steel also has good machinability but it has to be subjected to heat treatment. Often used for gears, crankshafts and other parts.
Grade 410 is a basic general-purpose hardenable martensitic stainless steel alloy for highly stressed requirements, providing good corrosion resistance. Martensitic stainless steels are fabricated using techniques requiring final heat treatment. These grades are less resistant to corrosion when compared to those of austenitic. Their operating temperatures are often affected by their loss of strength at high temperatures, due to over-tempering and loss of ductility at sub-zero temperatures. Quenching and tempering can harden grade 410 steels while their corrosion resistance can be further enhanced by hardening, tempering and polishing. 410 is a very common grade used in many industries such as aerospace, power generation, and general industry. Generally used for applications requiring mild corrosion, heat resistance and high strength and ductility. Indicative examples include steam / gas turbine blades and buckets, bushings, valve components, fasteners, nuclear reactor control rod mechanisms, petrochemical equipment and machine parts.