Aluminum - (Al) 
Melting Point: 1221 Fahrenheit \ 660 Celsius
Boiling Point:  4566 Fahrenheit \  2519 Celsius
Note: Aluminium versus Aluminum, see below.

Aluminum is a soft, durable, lightweight, ductile and malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. Aluminum is nonmagnetic and has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel and resists corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. It is easily machined, cast, drawn and extruded. Aluminum, unlike steel, melts without first glowing red which gives no visual signs to reveal how close the material is to melting. Aluminum Does Not Emit Sparks. Because aluminum is non-sparking, it is appropriate for applications involving explosive materials or taking place in highly flammable environments.

Aluminum is the most widely used non-ferrous metal exceeding other metals except iron. Aluminum is a good thermal and electrical conductor, having 59% the conductivity of copper, both thermal and electrical.

Corrosion resistance can be excellent due to a thin surface layer of aluminum oxide that forms when the metal is exposed to air, effectively preventing further oxidation. The strongest aluminum alloys are less corrosion resistant due to galvanic reactions with alloyed copper. This corrosion resistance is also often greatly reduced when many aqueous salts are present, particularly in the presence of dissimilar metals.

Aluminum is theoretically 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities. Recycling involves melting the scrap, a process that requires only 5% of the energy used to produce aluminum from ore, though a significant part (up to 15% of the input material) is lost as dross (ash-like oxide). The dross can undergo a further process to extract aluminum.

Recycling Aluminum saves raw materials such as carbon and alumina. Another advantage is that waste product can be recycled instead of being sent to landfill. Recycled aluminum is known as secondary aluminum, but maintains the same physical properties as primary aluminum. Secondary aluminum is produced in a wide range of formats and is employed in 80% of alloy injections. Another important use is for extrusion.

Beverage Can
The most common daily used Aluminum product is the beverage can which is of incredibly thin yet strong design. An empty aluminum can weighs approximately half an ounce (15 g). There are roughly 30 empty aluminum cans to a pound or 70 to a kilogram. Alloy Aluminum 6061 is used in the manufacture of aluminum cans for the packaging of foodstuffs and beverages.

Aluminum is almost always alloyed, which markedly improves its mechanical properties, especially when tempered. For example, the common aluminum foils and beverage cans are alloys of 92% to 99% aluminum. The main alloying agents are copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and silicon (e.g., duralumin) and the levels of these other metals are in the range of a few percent by weight.  Aluminum alloys with a wide range of properties are used in engineering structures. Alloy systems are classified by a number system (ANSI) or by names indicating their main alloying constituents (DIN and ISO).

Aluminum (Alloy 1100)
This grade is commercially pure aluminum. It is soft and ductile and has excellent workability. It is ideal for applications involving intricate forming because it work hardens more slowly than other alloys. It is the most weldable of aluminum alloys, by any method. It is non heat-treatable. It has excellent resistance to corrosion and is widely used in the chemical and food processing industries. It responds well to decorative finishes which make it suitable for giftware.

Aluminum (Alloy 2011)
This is the most free-machining of the common aluminum alloys. It also has excellent mechanical properties. Thus, it is widely used for automatic screw machine products in parts requiring extensive machining.

Aluminum (Alloy 2014 & 2017)
The 2017 alloy combines excellent machinability and high strength with the result that it is one of the most widely used alloys for automatic screw machine work. It is a tough, ductile alloy suitable for heavy-duty structural parts. Its strength is slightly less than that of 2014.

Aluminum (Alloy 2024)
This is one of the best known of the high strength aluminum alloys. With its high strength and excellent fatigue resistance, it is used to advantage on structures and parts where good strength-to-weight ratio is desired. It is readily machined to a high finish. It is readily formed in the annealed condition and may be subsequently heat treated. Arc or gas welding is generally not recommended, although this alloy may be spot, seam or flash welded. Since corrosion resistance is relatively low, 2024 is commonly used with an anodized finish or in clad form (“Alclad”) with a thin surface layer of high purity aluminum. Applications: aircraft structural components, aircraft fittings, hardware, truck wheels and parts for the transportation industry.

Aluminum (Alloy 3003)
This is the most widely used of all aluminum alloys. It is essentially commercially pure aluminum with the addition of manganese which increases the strength some 20% over the 1100 grade. Thus, it has all the excellent characteristics of 1100 with higher strength. It has excellent corrosion resistance. It has excellent workability and it may be deep drawn or spun, welded or brazed. It is non heat treatable. Applications: cooking utensils, decorative trim, awnings, siding, storage tanks, chemical equipment.

Aluminum (Alloy 5005)
This alloy is generally considered to be an improved version of 3003. It has the same general mechanical properties as 3003 but appears to stand up better in actual service. It is readily workable. It can be deep drawn or spun, welded or brazed. It has excellent corrosion resistance. It is non heat-treatable. It is well suited for anodizing and has less tendency to streak or discolor. Applications same as 3003.

Aluminum (Alloy 5052)
This is the highest strength alloy of the more common non heat-treatable grades. Fatigue strength is higher than most aluminum alloys.In addition this grade has particularly good resistance to marine atmosphere and salt water corrosion. It has excellent workability. It may be drawn or formed into intricate shapes and its slightly greater strength in the annealed condition minimizes tearing that occurs in 1100 and 3003. Applications: Used in a wide variety of applications from aircraft components to home appliances, marine and transportation industry parts, heavy duty cooking utensils and equipment for bulk processing of food.

Aluminum (Alloy 5083 & 5086)
For many years there has been a need for aluminum sheet and plate alloys that would offer, for high strength welded applications, several distinct benefits over such alloys as 5052 and 6061. Some of the benefits fabricators have been seeking are greater design efficiency, better welding characteristics, good forming properties, excellent resistance to corrosion and the same economy as in other non heat-treatable alloys. Metallurgical research has developed 5083 and 5086 as superior weldable alloys which fill these needs. Both alloys have virtually the same characteristics with 5083 having slightly higher mechanical properties due to the increased manganese content over 5086. Applications: unfired pressure vessels, missile containers, heavy-duty truck and trailer assemblies, boat hulls and superstructures.

Aluminum (Alloy 6061)
This is the least expensive and most versatile of the heat-treatable aluminum alloys. It has most of the good qualities of aluminum. It offers a range of good mechanical properties and good corrosion resistance. It can be fabricated by most of the commonly used techniques. In the annealed condition it has good workability. In the T4 condition fairly severe forming operations may be accomplished. The full T6 properties may be obtained by artificial aging. It is welded by all methods and can be furnace brazed. It is available in the clad form (“Alclad”) with a thin surface layer of high purity aluminum to improve both appearance and corrosion resistance. Applications: This grade is used for a wide variety of products and applications from truck bodies and frames to screw machine parts and structural components. 6061 is used where appearance and better corrosion resistance with good strength are required.

Aluminum (Alloy 6063)
This grade is commonly referred to as the architectural alloy. It was developed as an extrusion alloy with relatively high tensile properties, excellent finishing characteristics and a high degree of resistance to corrosion. This alloy is most often found in various interior and exterior architectural applications, such as windows, doors, store fronts and assorted trim items. It is the alloy best suited for anodizing applications - either plain or in a variety of colors.

Aluminum (Alloy 7075)
This is one of the highest strength aluminum alloys available. Its strength-to weight ratio is excellent and it is ideally used for highly stressed parts. It may be formed in the annealed condition and subsequently heat treated. Spot or flash welding can be used, although arc and gas welding are not recommended. It is available in the clad (“Alclad”) form to improve the corrosion resistance with the over-all high strength being only moderately affected. Applications: Used where highest strength is needed.

Precision-Cast Multipurpose Aluminum (MIC 6 Alloy)
For outstanding machinability and stability, turn to this stress-relieved cast alloy.

Mold-Quality Aluminum (QC-10 Alloy)
Outstanding thermal conductivity, when compared to steel, along with high strength and surface hardness make this heat-treatable alloy suitable for use in production injection molds and blow molds.

Porous Mold-Quality Aluminum
Perfect for creating molds used in vacuum forming and thermoforming, this aluminum alloy is porous to let air and moisture through, preventing bubbles and blemishes in your material when forming.

Aluminum Casting
When products aren't made by other raw alloy stock machining  processes the most common method is by casting. Aluminum melts at a relatively low temperature and can be poured into an infinate variety of shapes for many purposes. Cookware, motor parts and lawn furniture to name a few give examples of casting aluminum. One of the main advantages to using cast aluminum is that the metal is often cost efficient in comparison to other cast metals. Along with the lower cost, the metal also retains a high degree of durability. While it is not necessarily true that cast aluminum will last as long as cast iron in some applications, the aluminum products do tend to hold up well for a number of years. The combination of lower cost and reliable durability makes cast aluminum an excellent choice for a number of metal components and products in domestic and commercial applications.

Health concerns
In very high doses, aluminum can cause neurotoxicity, and is associated with altered function of the blood-brain barrier. A small percentage of people are allergic to aluminum and experience contact dermatitis, digestive disorders, vomiting or other symptoms upon contact or ingestion of products containing aluminum, such as deodorants or antacids. In those without allergies, aluminum is not as toxic as heavy metals, but there is evidence of some toxicity if it is consumed in excessive amounts.
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Aluminum is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface.  As Aluminum is mostly alloyed with other metals the raw ingot source selection and prices vary greatly.  In small user quantities expect to pay 3.00 to 6.00 a pound.

About Metal Spot Prices: The spot price of metals is based on paper contracts for delivery of tons of pure metal ingots. When you're not prepared to pay for and take delivery of tons of metal, that spot price will quickly become a huge understatement of the real price of that metal. When you want to buy just a few pounds of aluminum for example, you're looking at substantially higher prices, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x more. Moreover, once you own physical aluminum ingots from your efforts, make absolutely sure you never sell for the spot price of aluminum. That's because it's hard to get investment / ingot grade aluminum or any metal in physical form without paying for it, so you've got something special on your hands and make sure to extract the full value when you're selling and understand the reverse when buying!

** Aluminium versus Aluminum? Globally and on the periodic table the element (Al) is spelled Aluminium, however in North America (USA / Canada) it is common to spell it as Aluminum, USA from –ium to –um. It has to do with Sir Humphry Davy, the British chemist who discovered the metal in 1808 and then named it “alumium" with one “i” and an “ium” ending. Later in his book Elements of Chemical Philosophy, published in 1812 Davy changed his mind and gave the metal the name “aluminum” Other scientists at the time schooled in fomal scientific latin word origins began calling it “aluminium”instead believing the “ium” ending was more consistent with other elements even though other elements like molybdenum, tantalum, platinum, and lanthanum exist. From that time both “aluminum” and “aluminium” could be found in the US as well as in Britain. Eventually “aluminum” became the standard name for the metal in North America and was officially adopted in the 1920s by the American Chemical Society. Elsewhere, though, scientists generally use “aluminium.” The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry uses “aluminium” as the standard international spelling but also recognizes “aluminum” as a variant.


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