Bending aluminum can be achieved with most of its alloys, but there are some best aluminum for bending. The material properties and design of these alloys play a key role in the bending process. It’s also important to note that aluminum bending is preferred for its cost effectiveness and usefulness.

You can also choose your preferred bending process. Some of the options you have include roller, press, draw, and stretch bending processes. Regardless of your choice, there’s a category of best aluminum for bending.

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The Best Aluminum For Bending

Here are some of the best aluminum alloys for bending. They include:

Aluminum Alloy 3003

This one has medium strength and possesses great resistance to corrosion. When settling for good for bending aluminum, you must consider its weldability. This is the allowance to be integrated with other materials through welding. The aluminum alloy 3003 possesses this great weldability power that you need.  Not only that, the alloy has great cold formability, and which makes it one of the best aluminum for bending.

This category of alloy is also considered commercial and has outstanding mechanical properties. For that reason, it does well even at elevated temperatures.

Due to its outstanding properties, the alloy has multiple uses in several industries. Some of the places this is used include the building industry, chemical and food industries, office, and home equipment. A lot of packaging containers today are made of this alloy.

Aluminum alloy 5052

Heat exchangers, treadplates, rivets, and wires among other products are made of this 5052 aluminum alloy. The corrosion resistant alloy can even perform better than the 3003 alloy if annealed. This alloy’s workability is out of this work besides being non-heat-treatable.

This kind of alloy has about 97%+ Aluminum composition, 2.5% Magnesium composition and less than 1% Chromium composition. This balance gives the alloy fine properties as one of the best aluminum for bending. Manufacturers also consider this kind of composition as very important.

Elasticity and shear modulus of an alloy determine how responsive the alloy can be to stress. To determine these modulus’ levels, a stress test is done. According to research, 5052 alloy has 70.3 GPa as its elasticity. On the other hand, its shear modulus is at 25.9 GPa.

These also affect the alloy’s yield and ultimate strength. The first one has an impact on the alloy’s ability to withstand temporary push or pull. The other affects the alloys power to deal with permanent deformation. According to the above figures, it’s clear that alloy 5052 is well constituted as one of the best aluminum for bending.

6061 Aluminum alloy

Tempering this series, especially the 6061-T6 allows makes it hard for bending to happen. To prevent this, the alloy is annealed. After this, bending and tempering can happen. This alloy has a slightly smaller difference between the yield and tensile abilities. The range is close to 10KSi and has a slight impact on the alloy’s ability to resist or allow bending. So we also consider it as one of the best aluminum for bending.

6063 Alloy

This is another 6000 series that allow for easier bending. Magnesium and Silicon are an important composition of this alloy. The alloy has a density of 2.69 g/cm3, this is slightly lower than the 6061 series. And that also gives this series similar bending allowance properties to the 6061 alloy.

Manufacturers wanting complicated aluminum shaped products but with smooth surfaces target this product. Besides, this alloy is commonly used for aluminum extrusion. Mostly, frames require a lot of bending and this option seems to be the best for that. Although it’s also important to recognize the fact that its bending allowance falls short of other series like the 3003.

So, it is also one of the best aluminum for bending.

7075 Aluminum alloy

Zinc is the dominant component of this alloy. The 7075 Aluminum alloy is ductile, strong, tough and has an amazing resistance response to fatigue. The alloy is one of the best options for structures with high stress application. Its high anti corrosive feature makes it desirable as well. When designing aircraft components that require a lot of bending, this alloy has been severally prioritized by manufacturers.

With a density of 2.81 g/cc, the alloy has a tensile strength of 572 MPa. It’s volume resistivity stands at 51.5 nOhm*m. A mix of these features means the alloy ranks among the best aluminum for bending.

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Factors to Consider when choosing the best Aluminum for Bending

You must consider a number of factors when deciding on which aluminum best for bending, and which alloy you’ll go for. Bending Aluminum successfully requires that you consider the properties of the alloy you’re choosing against what you want to achieve. That way, you’ll be able to utilize well different alloy abilities to match your needs. Here are factors to consider when making the decision of best aluminum for bending.

  1. Thickness and bend radius

The thickness of an alloy in use has a lot of impact on its ability to bend. The thicker the alloy, the lesser bending abilities it has. Therefore, going for thinner alloys will increase its ability to bend more. While this is true most of the times, there are exemptions.

Bend radius is also an important consideration. When bending aluminum, the bend radius shouldn’t be too long or too short. A lot of balance and consideration must be applied.

Some factors that affect the bending radius include the bending force, alloy thickness, and working temperature. These are important details that must be looked into. Mind you different alloys react differently to these factors and there proper classification and matching must be applied.

If the working temperature is too high, certain alloys will withstand that but not all. At the end of the day you want to achieve a certain bend target. Using the right temperature for the right bend thickness and radius for the correct alloy will give you more desirable results.

This is a very important consideration. According to experts, Aluminum alloys strengthen and harden when bent. Therefore, the harder the metal, the lesser its likely to bend further. This is because of the lesser room to bend. Although other processes can be involved to change the situation.

  1. Elongation percentage

A question that you want to ask yourself is how much elongated do you want your metals to get to. When analyzing elongation properties, you must consider the yield and ultimate strength. This will help you to figure out which alloys can be elongated more. When the difference between yield and ultimate strength is bigger, you can be sure that the aluminum alloy will elongate more. Therefore, you must look out for aluminum alloys with bigger strength difference.

  1. Formability

This is also interchangeably referred to as ductility. And it involves the alloys elongation and strength comparisons. Experts advice that one of these increases when the other decreases. The reverse is true.

  1. End use applications

When making aluminum products, some require lots of bending while others don’t require that. This will advise you on the right alloy to go for. For instance, a frame may require half bends. This allows you to go for very strong alloys with lower abilities to bend.

On the other hand, other products that may require bigger bends will force you to opt for less strong alloys. This will allow the metal to stretch more and accommodate more stress.

  1. Heat treating

Some alloys allow heat treatment while others don’t. Heat treatment also plays a significant role in the bending process. But not all alloys will allow this to happen. Therefore, you must consider this before purchasing an aluminum alloy.

Deduction

In our research, we studied seven factors to consider when choosing the best aluminum for bending. Some of the factors include but not limited to those below:

  • Strength
  • Weldability
  • Response to heat treatment
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Application

Of the different aluminum alloys we analyzed, there’s one that stood up. The 3003 Aluminum Alloy has excellent scores in two considerations including formability and weldability. It also a score of good in machining and corrosion resistance.

Although the alloy doesn’t respond to heat treatment, it has medium strength which makes it easier to bend. Besides, the alloy is mostly used to make chemical equipment for among other reasons its properties.

Compared to other alloys, this specific alloy stands from the rest. Following closely are the 6061 and 6063 alloys that score good in about three categories with one excellent score in resistance to corrosion. The two are also a preference for most manufacturers based on the product they aim to create.

The 5052 alloy follows closely but is defeated by these two 6000-series alloys because it scores fair in machining compared to the latter’s Good score. Then last on our top five list is the 7075 Aluminum alloy. Its high strength, average resistance to corrosion and ability to respond to heat treatment makes it a contender but not strong enough to beat the rest.

As Aluminum bending continues to rise in popularity, manufacturers continue to seek better alloy alternatives for their processes. We have highlighted above some of the alloys we believe are outstanding based on research and the alloys’ properties. We hope you can now make informed decisions regarding the same.

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