Aluminum is the most abundant metal on Earth. Although it is not found in its pure form, about 300 aluminum compounds and minerals are known. This lightweight and durable metal is an excellent material of construction. Wherever we are – in a car, train, plane, office, at home – everywhere we are surrounded by products where aluminum is present. It finds its application (independently or as part of alloys) in almost all areas of human activity:
- mechanical engineering;
- electronic equipment;
- food industry;
- the medicine;
- furniture manufacturing;
- design and decoration of interiors;
- advertising industry …
Aluminum combines unique qualities that make it highly demanded.
- Low specific gravity. The use of aluminum is especially justified in cases where the weight of the product is of particular importance, such as in construction, aviation, rocketry.
- Anti-corrosion properties of aluminum. A small oxide film formed on the surface protects it from negative environmental influences.
- The plasticity of the material makes it possible to produce ultra-thin products in different ways.
- The ability to combine with other metals into alloys.
- Electrical conductivity.
- Fire resistance.
- Environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
Aluminum alloys used
Compared to pure aluminum, aluminum alloys have better physicochemical and mechanical properties. Depending on the composition, aluminum alloys are divided into wrought ones, which are further used for rolling, forging, pressing, and foundry ones with increased fluidity.
To obtain new characteristics and new operational capabilities, alloying elements are introduced into the composition of alloys in different percentages: copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, silicon, nickel … Thus, manganese increases corrosion resistance; titanium, nickel, chromium improve the heat resistance of alloys; silicon is used to create casting alloys.
Familiar aluminum alloys:
- duralumin, which includes copper, magnesium and manganese;
- silumin is an alloy of aluminum with silicon.
Other additives can be included in the composition of alloys, depending on the properties that are expected from the material.
Types of aluminum processing
Aluminum and aluminum alloys lend themselves to all types of processing – forging, rolling, cutting, electric methods. Due to the plasticity of aluminum, it can be easily processed by pressure, but during mechanical cutting, the adhesion of metal to the cutting tool is a negative factor. Due to the mechanical action of the tool and possible vibrations arising during machining, the aluminum workpiece must be securely fixed to the working surface. And with rigid fixation of the elastic material, deformation of the part at the attachment points is not excluded. Thermal methods of processing – plasma or laser cutting of aluminum, which operate contactlessly, are capable of providing a good cut quality.
Laser cut aluminum
The use of laser technology for cutting and cutting aluminum is precision, quality and productivity. Laser cutting of aluminum makes it possible to obtain products of the desired size and configuration of any complexity both in mass production and in the execution of individual orders.
Briefly, the essence of processing can be described as follows. The laser is guided along the cut line and, thanks to the concentrated energy, melts the metal of the workpiece in a narrow zone. Cutting takes place without mechanical contact of the tool with the workpiece, which means that any deformations are excluded. Due to the fact that the beam has a local effect, laser cut does not cause changes in the physical and chemical properties of the material. Another advantage of laser cutting is that it produces smooth edges that do not require additional processing.