Aluminum is a highly desired metal due to its resistance to corrosion, high strength-to-weight ratio, thermal and electrical conductivity, and cost effectiveness. It is also a metal that many precision metal experts enjoy working with. It can be welded, has great machinability and with the proper equipment, can be cut to the tightest tolerances. When purchasing aluminum plate, there are a number of factors to consider.
Alloys of Aluminum Plate
Metal suppliers offer different alloys of aluminum plate. Aluminum is alloyed in order to give it even greater strength. Alloying elements such as magnesium, manganese, nickel, silicone and copper are common in the production of aluminum for various applications. Unalloyed aluminum still has moderate strength and is good for many commercial uses.
Most Common Grades of Aluminum Plate
2024: This high strength aluminum plate is the most popular and well known grade in the metal business. It is a common choice for various metal components and parts in the aerospace industry, including fuselage and wing tension components. This grade of aluminum plate is used when strength, stiffness and good fatigue performance are required. Generally, aerospace, structural, hydraulic and pneumatic, and transportation industries will use this grade of aluminum alloy. It is available in plate thicknesses from .250” through 6.00”.
3003: This is an aluminum grade commonly used in the food industry for cooking utensils and equipment. It is also used for aluminum siding, awnings and trim.
6061: Known to be a versatile heat-treatable aluminum alloy, this is used in general purpose applications. This plate is alloyed with magnesium and silicone. Typically, truck bodies and frames are constructed with this plate, as are steps, walkways, platforms and many other structures. Metal suppliers often stock .250” to 10.00” thicknesses. Precision plate is an improved version of 6061 alloy. It offers improved flatness and thickness tolerances.
7075: This is the most common grade of aluminum plate used in the aerospace, marine and transportation industries. It has stress-corrosion cracking resistance and provides the ultimate strength when strength is a critical requirement.
Aluminum Cast is used over a variety of industries where stability is more of a requirement than strength. Aluminum cast is highly used in the electronics industry, plastics industry (for fabricating molds), for machinery in the food and packaging industries, as well as for creating medical instruments, drill jigs, prototypes and so forth.
Howard Precision Metals Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of aluminum in the Midwest. They are renowned for being the best aluminum supplier for tight tolerance cutting. Find out why so many industries rely on Howard Precision Metals Inc. for their products, services and expertise. Visit Howardprecision.com.