Aluminium Alloys

Aluminium Alloys


Aluminium is the most widely used metal in engineering apart from iron. The reason the aluminium is widely used is because the combination of properties makes it one of the most versatile of engineering and construction materials. Aluminium is light in weight, yet some of its alloys have strengths greater than that of structural steel. It has good electrical and thermal conductivities and high reflectivity to both heat and light. It is highly corrosion resistant under a great many service conditions and is nontoxic. Aluminium can be cast,extruded forged, drawn, hot rolled and cold rolled.

CEN identification of Aluminium Alloys

The European numbering system (ref BS EN 573-1:1995 ) identifies the alloy using an identification starting with AW :
A for Aluminium and W for Wrought alloys
...(AB/AC for Cast Alloys-ref BS EN 1706 /BS EN 1780 ). This is followed by number ranges for indicating groups of alloys.

Work Hardening Alloys

  • En AW-1xxx Pure Aluminium (>99%)
  • En AW-3xxx...Aluminium Manganese Alloys AlMn
  • En AW-4xxx.. Aluminium Silicon Allosy AlSi
  • En AW-5xxx..Aluminium-Magnesium alloys AlMg

Heat Treatable Alloys

  • En AW-2xxxx Aluminium Cu alloys AlCu
  • En AW-6xxx...Aluminium Magesium Silicon alloys AlMg Si
  • En AW-7xxx.. Aluminium Zinc Magnesioum alloys AlZnMg

The alloy condition, or temper as covered in BS EN 515, is denoted by a suffix to the alloy code:

  • O for Anealed

  • F as fabricated,
  • T for heat treatments.

    (The T is followed be a number of digits identifying in some detail
    the heat treament i.e.
    The first digit is a precise sequence of events.
    Subsequent digits: indicate a variation in treatment
    which significantly alters the characteristics of the
    product with respect to the original temper.

  • H for Strain Hardened material supply.

    (The H is followed be a number of digits i.e.
    First digit: type of treatment.
    Second digit: the final degree of strain-hardening,
    where 8 is normally the hardest (e.g. 4 = half hard).
    Third digit: (when used) a variation of a two-digit

Pure Aluminium

Commercially pure aluminium varies from about 99,3% to 99,7% Al. The higher purity Aluminium is selected for use as electrical conductors and reflector sheets. Lower-purity alloys with iron an copper added as necessary is relatively soft and ductile with excellent workability and weldability
Aluminium is an important material in a large cross section of industries. It is suitable for forming, welding and machining and provides the following advantages;

  • Non - Magnetic
  • Good electrical conductivity; about 60% that of Copper but reduced by the presence of alloying elements
  • Highly economic to recycle
  • High specific strength
  • High corrosion fatigue resistance
  • Low specific gravity approximately 1/3 of steel

Although available in a number of grades, Aluminium can be divided into two major categories of wrought alloys

Work Hardening Alloys

These alloys ie., Non heat treatable, include commercially pure aluminium and the alloys including manganese or magnesium.  These alloys can be fully or partly softened by annealing at 350 - 400 deg Celcius. A small number of typical example aluminium allows are listed below. The links on this page include much more comprehensive information..

Grade.      Cond'nAlMgMnFeSiCuZnCrTiRp.02RmENotes
AW-12000> 99% < 0.05  <=0,05<=0,1-<= 0,05259069Packaging, foils, Miscellaneous
AW-1200Hx4> 99% < 0.05  <=0,05<= 0,1-<= 0,0510012069 
AW-30030Remain 1,0-1,5<= 0,7<=0,60,05 - 0,2<= 0,10--5011069,5Building Industry, Roofing etc
AW-3003Hx6Remain 1,0 - 1,5<= 0,7<=0,60,05 - 0,2<= 0,10--16518069,5 
AW-50050Remain0,5-1,1< = 0,2<= 0,7<= 0,2<= 0,2<= 0,25<= 0,10-4512069,5Building Industry, Roofing etc
AW-5005Hx6Remain0,5-1,1<= 0,2<= 0,7<= 0,2<= 0,2<= 0,25<= 0,10-16518069,5 
AW-50860Remain3,45 - 4,50,2-0,7<= 0,5<= 0,4<= 0,1<= 0,250,05-0,25<= 0,1513027571Structures and equipment, Piping, tanks
AW-5086Hx6Remain3,45-4,50,2-0,7<= 0,5<= 0,4<= 0,1<= 0,250,05 - 0,25<= 0,1528034571 
Heat Treatable Alloys

Heat treatable alloys or precipitation hardening alloys include copper,
magnesium, zinc and silicon as important constituents.

A small number of typical example aluminium allows are listed below. The links on
this page include much more comprehensive information..

Grade.      Cond'nAlMgMnFeSiCuZnCrTiRp.02RmENotes
AW-2011T3Remain - <=0,45,0 - 6,0<= 0,3--29036572,5Screws, Nuts, Machined components
AW-2011T6Remain - <=0,45,0 - 6,0<= 0,3--30039572,5 
AW-60160Remain0,25-0,6<=0,2<=0,51,0 - 1,5<= 0,2<= 0,20<= 0,1<= 1,155010069,5Aluminium Car Body sheets
AW-6016T5Remain0,25-0,6<=0,2<=0,51,0 - 1,5<= 0,2<= 0,20<= 0,1<= 1,1518522069,5 
AW-70200Remain1,0-1,40,05 -0,5<=0,4<=0,35<=0,24,0 - 5,0 0,1 - 0,35**
0,08 - 0,2
8018070Welded Structural Components,(**Zr + Ti)
AW-7020T5Remain1,0-1,40,05 -0,5<= 0,4<= 0,35<= 0,24,0 - 5,0 0,1 - 0,35**
0,08 - 0,2
A table of reference British Standards is located at
Aluminium Standards

Links Providing information on Aluminium
  1. Aluselect.. Excellent source of data on aluminium alloys to European standards
  2. Aluminium Matter org..A site providing links and information joint Liverpool University and EAA.
  3. Angelfire.. As site devoted to Aluminium
  4. Key-To-Metal An excellent reference site for non-ferrous metal classifications and properties.- registration required for full access
  5. Matweb... The best source of material Information in the Web
  6. AALCO A UK metals supplier- Site includes lots of useful Techical Data Sheets and specifications
  7. AZOM (A to Z of materials) Website includes links to many detailed articles