Aluminum is a versatile metal that is used in many applications from siding to the foil to wrap over food. However, by itself, the metal has very low strength. So it cannot be used for many structural applications unless something else becomes added to it. Magnesium is one metal that is added to aluminum to help strengthen it.
Magnesium Alloyed to Aluminum
When magnesium is alloyed to aluminum, it improves the strain hardening of the aluminum to increase the metal’s strength. This process is called solid solution hardening, which is simply dissolving the magnesium as it becomes part of the aluminum’s structure to make it stronger. The resulting aluminum alloy is turned into a high strength material that is not heat treated. In this
Aluminum with magnesium added is placed into a series category of 6xxx. This metal series can be difficult to extrude, and is expensive when a company seeks extrusion. Instead, the metal is formed into plates and sheets. It is suitable for as a structural metal, as it can be used for buildings, vehicles such as trains and trucks, ships, and holding tanks.
Magnesium Aluminum Master Alloys
Magnesium aluminum master alloys will have different ratios of each metal in the mix based on the types of characteristics that a customer desires. An even 50% magnesium and 50% aluminum creates this master alloy that offers better mechanical and fabrication qualities when forming the magnesium aluminum master alloy into different shapes. This alloy also has increased welding characteristics.
The magnesium aluminum may also have silicon added to turn into magnesium silicide. This is a heat treatable alloy that is placed into the 6xxx category of aluminum alloys. Unlike the 5xxx series, magnesium silicide can be extruded at a lower cost and is often chosen due to this characteristic to make extruded shapes. Customers often will take aluminum plates and magnesium filicide extruded shapes and place them together. Magnesium aluminum with silicon is categorized into the 6xxx series of aluminum alloys.
Common applications for magnesium aluminum with silicon include handrails, scaffolding, drive shafts, and tubular metal lawn furniture.
A customer should consider the application and how the parts will be formed to determine the which magnesium aluminum series to select. Keep in mind that magnesium aluminum in the 5xxx series is work hardened and non-heated treated and are turned into sheets or plates. The 6xxx series of magnesium aluminum with silicon added becomes heat treated and is commonly extruded. Both series of master alloys can be used for structural applications.
Here at Belmont Metals, we offer 50/50 magnesium aluminum for customers who desire an alloy that is strong and can be welded, fabricated, or formed using mechanical means. For more information regarding our available alloys, contact out company today.