Even in its simplest form, aluminum can be found in the objects we use in everyday life. From consumer goods such as kitchen foil to integral parts of modern architecture and transportation, this lightweight material is becoming increasingly crucial to many industries. However, by itself, aluminum has low strength, which can limit its application. To combat this, aluminum is often infused with magnesium to create a stronger, more ductile alloy with a wide array of benefits.
Why are aluminum alloys infused with magnesium?
The infusion of magnesium into aluminum alloys increases the strength-to-weight ratio, allowing for lighter components while maintaining high performance. In a process called solid solution hardening, magnesium is dissolved, becoming an interictal part of aluminum’s structure, resulting in improving the alloy’s overall strength. The addition of magnesium also reduces the specific gravity, making it easier to work with and more cost-efficient to produce and transport. Magnesium also improves the machinability of aluminum alloys, making them preferred construction materials for automotive and aerospace industries where weight reduction is critical.
For manufacturers, the increased strength and machinability allows them to easily work with and shape sheets or blocks of magnesium-infused aluminum alloys to a client’s precise specifications. End-products delivered to consumers contain aluminum alloys that are stronger and more resistant to corrosion. Due to these benefits, manufacturers use this alloy in various applications, including:
- Automobile applications, as truck trailer bodies and inner body panels
- Marine transportation industries, as hull materials and structural beams
- Bridges and highway structures, as curtain wall extrusions and architectural rims
- Chemical industry, as cryogenic tanks and pressure vessels
- Packaging applications, as rigid container ends
Understanding Aluminum Alloy Series
Magnesium-infused alloys can be further improved by adding small amounts of other minerals, such as manganese, chromium or silicon, which enhances an alloy’s strength, corrosion resistance and improves weldability. These alloys have varying qualities and uses leading them to be placed in a 5xxx or 6xxxx series.
Aluminum alloys in the 5xxx series have magnesium as the primary alloying element. As mentioned earlier, magnesium provides moderate to high strength characteristics without impacting the ductility of aluminum alloys. 5xxx series alloys are work hardened, non-heated treated and usually made into plates and sheets.
Often times, silicon is added to magnesium-infused aluminum alloys to create a heat treatable alloy, known as magnesium silicide and are categorized as a 6xxx alloy. Silicon reduces the melting temperature without causing brittleness, increases fluidity and reduces hot tearing. This allows for a thinner and more intricate casting to be made and reduce shrinkage, making 6xxx series a preferred choice when it comes to creating extruded shapes.
Reap The Benefits of Magnesium-Infused Aluminum Alloys
Magnesium-infused aluminum alloys are an excellent choice for manufacturers seeking materials with increased strength, low density, and high machinability. Belmont Metals offers 50/50 magnesium aluminum for manufacturers looking for a strong and versatile alloy for production needs. Contact us today to find the right alloy that meets your business needs.