Aluminum is widely used in many industries. Compared to other metals, aluminum has a good strength-to-weight ratio, machinability, corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, recyclability, and Anodisation potential.
Combined with different elements, aluminum has various alloy types. We have a detailed description of it in this article: Types of CNC aluminum material
Aluminum is about a third of the density of steel. That’s why we often say aluminum is relatively light. Despite the lightweight, aluminum has very high strength. The combination of weight and strength is described as the strength-to-weight ratio. This feature of aluminum is critical for machined and aspect parts. Aluminum is the ideal choice for the aerospace and automotive industries.
Keep in mind that each aluminum type serves a specific role. You need to select suitable aluminum for your project.
Aluminum is soft by nature, which makes it to be cut easily by machine tools. The machinability of aluminum is about triple that of steel or iron. It indicates that the machining timer is short and the labor cost is low, relatively.
Corrosion resistance is the ability to withstand chemical change and oxidization. The discussion of the resistance ability of aluminum requires specificity. Grades of aluminum vary in the degree of corrosion resistance demonstrated. It is lucky that the common CNC aluminum like 6061 has a good ability of corrosion resistance.
Aluminum is a good conductor of heat and electricity. The electrical conductivity of pure aluminum is about 37.7 million siemens per meter at room temperature. It is better than other common metals such as carbon steel and stainless steel. The electrical conductivity of carbon steel is 7 million siemens per meter and stainless steel is 1.5 million siemens per meter. The electrical conductivity of copper is superior (59.6 million siemens per meter) but at a higher price. Aluminum alloy’s electrical conductivity may be lower than pure aluminum. But it is enough for precision electrical components of aerospace and medical industries.
Aluminum is highly recyclable. The recycled aluminum is not be downgraded and can be used again and again. It can decrease the environmental impact.
Anodisation is a surface finishing procedure that can thicken the outer protective layer to withstand corrosion and wear. It is easier to add color on an anodized aluminum part. The anodized layer is highly porous. Dyes can find a way to be embedded in it.