Although aluminum is the third most abundant element on the planet, it’s only been commercially viable for about a century due to historically restrictive production costs. As a lightweight and resilient metal, the versatility of aluminum lends itself to a variety of applications, such as construction materials, aircraft parts, HVAC units and consumer products. Aluminum is also known as a highly sustainable metal, as it can be recycled for future applications. The most popular example of this being beverage cans.
Its versatility and sustainability make it ideal for use as a master alloy. By combining aluminum with a high percentage of another element, such as nickel or cobalt, a variety of alloys can be created for specific uses.
The addition of 20% nickel to aluminum creates an alloy that has increased strength, hardness, and durability. That, combined with its corrosion-resistant properties and heat tolerance, makes it a popular master alloy used in aircraft and automotive manufacturing.
Another added benefit of nickel aluminum is its machinability, which makes it an excellent choice for manufacturing parts such as engine and exhaust system components. It’s also commonly used in marine-related applications, such as ships and submarines.
Pure aluminum is much too ductile for structural applications, while iron alone is susceptible to corrosion. When 10%-30% iron is added to aluminum, it produces a ferro aluminum alloy. Iron imparts its strength to the aluminum, allowing it to prevent hot tears and be cast into a desired shape while maintaining its stability. Meanwhile, the aluminum adds corrosion resistance to the mix.
Ferro aluminum alloys are commonly used in construction and automotive manufacturing. Its ability to withstand higher temperatures while maintaining its strength and integrity also make it ideal for welding components such as electrodes and wires.
Cobalt aluminum is extremely corrosion-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. For these reasons, it is commonly used in bio-medical applications that require durable, corrosion-resistant alloys. It is also used for high-speed cutting tools, bearing assemblies, jet engine turbines, and other applications that require high-wear resistance at extreme temperatures.
The addition of 20% chromium to aluminum produces a master alloy that has increased strength, while still maintaining ductility. This master alloy also allows for greater control of grain structure, prevents re-crystallization in other alloys during heat treatment, and reduces susceptibility to stress corrosion cracking. For these reasons, chrome aluminum is utilized in the manufacture of automotive and aerospace components.
Adding magnesium to aluminum increases its strength without sacrificing the positive characteristics of the base metal. It improves durability through solid solution strengthening, as well as improving strain hardening ability. Magnesium aluminum alloys are among the strongest non-heat-treatable alloys, which makes them widely used in structural applications. It is commonly used in buildings, truck bodies, armored vehicles, chemical tankers, shipbuilding, and cryogenic tanks.
Belmont’s Range of Master Alloys
The versatility and utility of aluminum master alloys can’t be understated. With uses in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, defense production, building materials, and much more, aluminum ingot alloys are crucial building blocks for many aspects of our world.
Take a look at all the Master Aluminum Alloys Belmont has to offer.