Along with being lightweight, aluminum is corrosion-resistant, very versatile, has good mechanical properties, and is easily formed.
Many of the disadvantages known for this material can be easily averted when working with an experienced aluminum fabricator and metalworking shop. It takes commitment and specialized skills to work with the material for welding, tooling, and other operations.
(+/-) Very machinable, equally comparable to other materials
(-) Lowest tensile strength
(-) Lowest weldability
(-) Lowest ductility
(-) Not as cost-effective as other materials (except stainless steel)
5052-H3R Aluminum is a relatively universal grade of aluminum alloy used in heat exchangers, fuel lines and tanks, flooring panels, streetlights, appliances, and much more. The H32 designation of this aluminum means its strain hardened through low-temperature heating, giving it a stronger tensile strength, and increasing the weldability. It's worth noting this grade cannot be heat treated.
6061-T6 Aluminum is one of the most common grades used. By alloying this material with magnesium and silicon through precipitation hardening, it earns the T6 designation. The alloying results in a greatly increased yield strength of the material, which is why many refer to this grade as“structural aluminum”. This grade also has improved formability.