Effect of Alloying Elements

Series Main Alloy Effect of Alloying Elements
1000 None (99% Alum.) Unalloyed aluminum is highly corrosion resistant, low strength, workable, conductive. Non-heat-treatable.
2000 Copper Gives strength, hardness, machinability. Heat-treatable.
3000 Manganese Adds moderate strength, good workability. Non-heat-treatable.
5000 Magnesium Moderate to high strength. Corrosion resistant. Non-heat-treatable.
6000 Magnesium and Silicon Increases strength, formability, corrosion resistance. Heat-treatable.
7000 Zinc For greatest strength. Heat-treatable.

1000 Series

Aluminum of 99% or higher purity has many applications, especially in the electrical and chemical fields. these alloys are characterized by excellent corrosion resistance, high thermal and electrical conductivity, low mechanical properties and excellent workability. Moderate increases in strength may be obtained by strain-hardening. Iron and silicon are the major impurities.

3000 Series

Manganese is the major alloying element of alloys in this group, which are generally non-heat-treatable. Because only a limited percentage of manganese, up to about 1.5%, can be effectively added to aluminum, it is used as a major element in only a few instances. One of these, however, is the popular 3003, which is widely used as a general-purpose alloy for moderate-strength applications requiring good workability.

5000 Series

The major alloying element of this group is silicon, which can be added in sufficient quantities to cause substantial lowering of the melting point without producing brittleness in the resulting alloys. For these reasons aluminum-silicon alloys are used in welding wire and as brazing alloys where a lower melting point than that of the parent metal is required. Most alloys in this series are non-heat-treatable, but when used in welding heat-treatable alloys they pick up some of the alloying constituents of the latter and so respond to heat-treatment to a limited extent. The alloys containing appreciable amounts of silicon become dark gray when anodic oxide finishes are applied, and hence are in demand for architectural applications.

6000 Series

Alloys in this group contain silicon and magnesium in approximate proportions to form magnesium silicide, thus making them heat-treatable. Major alloy in this series is 6061, one of the most versatile of the heat-treatable alloys.


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