Aluminium

Aluminium is the world’s most abundant metal and is the third most common element comprising 8% of the earth’s crust. The versatility of aluminium makes it the most widely used metal after steel.

Aluminium is derived from the mineral bauxite. Bauxite is converted to aluminium oxide (alumina) via the Bayer Process
Worldwide demand for aluminium is around 29 million tons per year. About 22 million tons is new aluminium and 7 million tons is recycled aluminium scrap. The use of recycled aluminium is economically and environmentally compelling. It takes 14,000 kWh to produce 1 tonne of new aluminium. Conversely it takes only 5% of this to remelt and recycle one tonne of aluminium. There is no difference in quality between virgin and recycled aluminium alloys.

Pure aluminium is soft, ductile, corrosion resistant and has a high electrical conductivity. It is widely used for foil and conductor cables, but alloying with other elements is necessary to provide the higher strengths needed for other applications. Aluminium is one of the lightest engineering metals, having a strength to weight ratio superior to steel.

By utilising various combinations of its advantageous properties such as strength, lightness, corrosion resistance, recyclability and formability, aluminium is being employed in an ever-increasing number of applications. This array of products ranges from structural materials through to thin packaging foils..
At Bion’s we have 55 years’ of experience in perforating aluminium both in coil and sheet format.

Typical application that we have experience of are|:

  • Cladding
  • Light fittings
  • Baking trays
  • Architectural applications

Physical Properties of Aluminium

Density of Aluminium
Aluminium has a density around one third that of steel or copper making it one of the lightest commercially available metals. The resultant high strength to weight ratio makes it an important structural material allowing increased payloads or fuel savings for transport industries in particular.

Strength of Aluminium
Pure aluminium doesn’t have a high tensile strength. However, the addition of alloying elements like manganese, silicon, copper and magnesium can increase the strength properties of aluminium and produce an alloy with properties tailored to particular applications.

Aluminium is well suited to cold environments. It has the advantage over steel in that its’ tensile strength increases with decreasing temperature while retaining its toughness. Steel on the other hand becomes brittle at low temperatures.

Corrosion Resistance of Aluminium
When exposed to air, a layer of aluminium oxide forms almost instantaneously on the surface of aluminium. This layer has excellent resistance to corrosion. It is fairly resistant to most acids but less resistant to alkalis.

Thermal Conductivity of Aluminium
The thermal conductivity of aluminium is about three times greater than that of steel. This makes aluminium an important material for both cooling and heating applications such as heat-exchangers. Combined with it being non-toxic this property means aluminium is used extensively in cooking utensils and kitchenware.

Reflectivity of Aluminium
From UV to infra-red, aluminium is an excellent reflector of radiant energy. Visible light reflectivity of around 80% means it is widely used in light fixtures. The same properties of reflectivity makes aluminium ideal as an insulating material to protect against the sun’s rays in summer, while insulating against heat loss in winter.

Best Grades for Metal working applications
1050A H14 Sheet
Aluminium alloy 1050 is a popular grade of aluminium for general sheet metal work where moderate strength is required.
Alloy 1050 is known for its excellent corrosion resistance, high ductility and highly reflective finish.

Applications – Alloy 1050 is typically used for:
Chemical process plant equipment
Food industry containers
Pyrotechnic powder
Architectural flashings
Lamp reflectors

Weldability
When welding 1050 to itself or an alloy from the same subgroup the recommended filler wire is 1100. For welding to alloys 5083 and 5086 or alloys from the 7XXX series, the recommend wire is 5356. For other alloys use 4043 filler wire.

Fabrication
Workability – Cold: Excellent
Machinability: Poor
Weldability – Gas: Excellent
Weldability – Arc: Excellent
Weldability – Resistance: Excellent
Brazability: Excellent
Solderability: Excellent