Due to its low density, aluminium is more than 60 % lighter than iron. The low weight makes this material very interesting for constructions in vehicle and aircraft construction, which have to weigh as less as possible but still need a high degree of stability and a competitive price level.
Aluminium plate is not only light, it is also a rather soft metal, which can be easily formed and machined. Despite these properties, aluminium plate metals are very stiff and give constructions high stability. At Rime, aluminium plates are regularly processed.
Laser processing of aluminium
At first glance, aluminium should be easier to cut by laser, even in higher material thicknesses. Although aluminium is softer than steel, the exact opposite is the case regarding laser cutting. Molten aluminium surfaces have optical characteristics that resemble the reflectivity of an old mirror. Depending on the purity of the metal, the degree of reflection reaches values up to 85 %. Due to these reflections, cutting of aluminium is much more energy-intensive, because the reflection reduces the effectiveness of a laser beam a lot.
The high thermal conductivity of the metal also reduces the performance. A part of the energy is transferred to the surrounding material, which limits the maximum material thickness for laser cutting to about 15 mm.
Bending of aluminium plates
Bending of aluminium plates is possible without any problems if a few special requirements are taken into account. Bending can be carried out on conventional press brakes. It is only necessary to ensure that the bending radius does not fall below twice the thickness of the material. Furthermore, the aluminium plate should be bent at right angles to the direction of rolling, because this allows the tightest bending radii. The special material properties allow longer bending of thicker plate metals compared to steel.
Aluminium as alloying element
Aluminium is also used as an alloying element in steel production. Aluminium and nitrogen form nitrides, which increase the hardness of nitriding steels. It also improves fine grain formation.
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Aluminium is extracted from the ore bauxite and does not occur in pure form in nature. Due to its complicated production, 150 years ago aluminium was more valuable than gold. The royal families loved it. Napoleon III of France owned a set of tableware made of aluminium, which only he and a few selected guests were allowed to use for dining. The other guests had to settle for knives and forks made of gold. At that time aluminium was also cast into ingots and stored in treasure chambers.
Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.Read more
The carbon concentration influences the hardness of steels. In this way, the right steel can be found for every application.Read more
Chromium is one of the most important alloying elements and improves the rust resistance and hardness of a steel.Read more