High Strength Aluminum: 2024 & 7075

2024 and 7075 are high-strength aluminum alloys that are commonly used in various applications, especially in aerospace, automotive, and structural industries.

2024 Aluminum

  1. Composition: 2024 aluminum is composed of aluminum (90.7%), copper (4.5%), and small amounts of other elements like magnesium (1.5%) and manganese (0.6%).
  2. Strength: It is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making it suitable for structural applications.
  3. Machinability: 2024 aluminum has good machinability and responds well to various machining operations.
  4. Corrosion Resistance: While it is not as corrosion-resistant as some other aluminum alloys, it can be protected through surface treatments such as anodizing.
  5. Applications: 2024 aluminum is commonly used in aircraft structures, where its high strength and lightweight properties are crucial. It’s also used in various aerospace and transportation components.

7075 Aluminum

  1. Composition: 7075 aluminum is composed mainly of aluminum (87.1%), zinc (5.3%), copper (2.1%), and small amounts of other elements like magnesium and chromium.
  2. Strength: It is one of the highest-strength aluminum alloys available, with excellent tensile strength and toughness.
  3. Machinability: While it can be machined, it is less machinable compared to 2024 due to its higher hardness.
  4. Corrosion Resistance: 7075 has good corrosion resistance, but it is not as corrosion-resistant as some other aluminum alloys. Anodizing can be used to enhance its corrosion resistance.
  5. Applications: 7075 aluminum is used in applications where high strength is required. It’s also used in the manufacturing of high-stress components in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Both 2024 and 7075 aluminum are valued for their high strength. They are used in applications where lightweight and strong materials are essential. The choice between them depends on specific application requirements, machining considerations, and cost constraints.

Alloy 4130: A Common Choice for Automotive

4130 steel is commonly used in the automotive industry due to its excellent combination of mechanical properties and weldability.

Strength & Durability

4130 steel offers high strength and excellent durability, making it well-suited for components that need to withstand heavy loads, stress, and impact. This is particularly important in automotive parts like chassis frames, suspension components, and roll cages.


While 4130 steel is strong, it is also relatively lightweight compared to some other high-strength materials. This makes it advantageous for reducing the overall weight of a vehicle, which can improve fuel efficiency and handling.

Weldability & Machinability

4130 steel can be easily welded, which is essential for the manufacturing and repair of automotive components. Welding allows for the fabrication of complex structures and the modification of existing parts.

This type of steel is also known for its good machinability, making it easier to machine into intricate shapes and components used in automotive applications.

Corrosion & Fatigue Resistance

While not as corrosion-resistant as stainless steel, 4130 steel can still resist rust and corrosion to a reasonable extent. This is important for automotive components that are exposed to environmental conditions.

4130 steel exhibits good fatigue resistance, which is crucial for components subjected to cyclic loading, such as suspension parts and axles.

Heat Treatment

4130 steel can be heat-treated to enhance its mechanical properties further. This allows for customization to meet specific automotive requirements, such as achieving higher hardness or strength.


4130 steel is cost-effective when compared to some other high-strength materials, making it an attractive choice for various automotive components.

Common automotive applications of 4130 steel include suspension components (such as control arms and sway bars), chassis frames, roll cages, steering components, and various structural elements. Its versatility and favorable combination of properties make it a valuable material in the automotive manufacturing and performance industries.

Pipe vs Tube

Metal pipes and metal tubes are both cylindrical structures made of metal, but they have some key differences in terms of their design, purpose, and typical applications.

Purpose & Function

  • Metal Pipe: Pipes are primarily designed to transport fluids, gases, or solids from one location to another. They are used for conveying substances like water, oil, gas, and various chemicals. Pipes often have specific standards and regulations depending on their intended use.
  • Metal Tube: Tubes, on the other hand, are more versatile and can serve various purposes beyond the transportation of materials. They are often used for structural applications, heat exchangers, mechanical components, and as a framework for various structures.

Wall Thicknesses

  • Metal Pipe: Pipes typically have a uniform wall thickness. The wall thickness is designed to withstand the specific pressure and temperature requirements of the substance being transported. Pipe walls are often thicker than those of tubes.
  • Metal Tube: Tubes can have varying wall thicknesses, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. Some tubes have thicker walls for structural strength, while others have thinner walls for heat exchange purposes

Shapes & Cross-Sections

  • Metal Pipe: Pipes are generally designed with a round cross-section, which is ideal for maintaining consistent flow and reducing resistance in fluid transportation.
  • Metal Tube: Tubes can have various cross-sectional shapes, including round, square, rectangular, and oval, depending on the intended application.

Manufacturing Standards

  • Metal Pipe: Pipes are often manufactured to specific industry standards, such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) or ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards. These standards ensure that pipes meet the required quality and safety criteria.
  • Metal Tube: Tubes can also be manufactured to industry standards, but they are often more flexible in terms of size and shape, making them suitable for a wider range of custom applications.


  • Metal Pipe: Common applications for metal pipes include plumbing systems, oil and gas pipelines, and industrial processes where the conveyance of fluids and gases is essential.
  • Metal Tube: Metal tubes find applications in industries like construction, automotive manufacturing, aerospace, and engineering, where structural strength, heat transfer, or specialized shapes are required.

In summary, the key difference between metal pipes and metal tubes lies in their primary purpose and design. Pipes are mainly used for transporting materials, while tubes serve various structural and mechanical functions in addition to material conveyance. The choice between a pipe and a tube depends on the specific requirements of the application.

All About: Architectural Bronze C385

385 architectural bronze stands out as a remarkable material with a well-balanced chemical composition. It offers excellent corrosion resistance, strength, and machinability. Whether it graces grand buildings or intricate designs, 385 bronze significantly contributes to the beauty, durability, and functionality of architectural projects.

The Chemistry

This alloy primarily consists of copper, with smaller quantities of zinc and lead. The chemical composition of 385 architectural bronze typically comprises approximately 57% copper, 40% zinc, and 3% lead. This precise combination of elements gives the alloy exceptional properties and makes it suitable for various applications.

Characteristics To Know

Architectural bronze’s alloying elements make it desirable for architectural purposes. Its high copper content, which provides excellent corrosion resistance, it is widely used in outdoor environments where longevity and durability are critical. The addition of zinc enhances the alloy’s strength and hardness, making it suitable for structural components and decorative elements. Furthermore, the small amount of lead improves its machinability, allowing for intricate and precise detailing in finish work.

What is Architectural Bronze C385 Used For?

The uses of 385 architectural bronze are diverse and extensive. It finds common application in the fabrication of architectural hardware, including door handles, knobs, and hinges. The alloy’s corrosion resistance makes it an ideal choice for exterior components that are exposed to weathering. Additionally, 385 bronze is often utilized in ornamental features such as statues, plaques, and decorative panels, where its beautiful golden hue adds aesthetic appeal to buildings and public spaces.

This alloy’s versatility extends to its use in lighting fixtures, railings, and various other architectural details that require both functionality and visual appeal.

What is the Difference Between Bronze and Brass?

Bronze and Brass are two metals that often get confused or used interchangeably, but they have distinct differences in their composition and properties. Bronze, discovered at a time when no other metals could rival it, quickly made a name for itself. It is an alloy of copper and tin, with a reddish-brown or reddish-gold color that oxidizes to dark brown or green. On the other hand, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, with a bright gold, copper, or silver color, depending on the metal content.

Metalworking with Brass & Bronze

When it comes to workability, brass is more malleable than bronze. It is less likely to break when hammered or rolled into thin plates. Bronze, in contrast, is less malleable and melts at a higher temperature. Both metals may require heating for easier metalworking, depending on their composition and desired output quality.

In terms of conductivity, both brass and bronze are effective conductors of heat and electricity, making them suitable for applications involving electrical machinery. They also exhibit corrosion resistance due to their copper content. However, they react differently to oxidation. Bronze develops a protective patina layer when exposed to air, while brass tarnishes and loses its luster. Certain types of brass are particularly resistant to galvanic seawater corrosion, making them ideal for sea vessel covering and desalination system pipes.

Other Distinguishing Features to Note

Another distinguishing factor between brass and bronze lies in their acoustic properties. Bronze produces a duller and deeper sound, making it suitable for cymbals and bells that require sustained resonance. Brass, on the other hand, is capable of creating the smooth and wide-ranging tones expected from musical instruments like trumpets and horns.

In conclusion, while bronze and brass share copper as a base metal, their secondary metal content and resulting properties differentiate them significantly. Understanding the composition and properties of each metal allows for informed decision-making when choosing the right material for specific applications, be it in manufacturing, construction, or even musical instrument production.

Sheet Metal Fabrication

What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Sheet metal fabrication is a multifaceted process of creating metal parts or structures out of sheet metal.

Cutting: Cutting metal into pieces of precise dimensions or dividing large sheets into several parts are examples of sheet metal processing. You can cut sheet metals manually using power tools, metal saws, lasers and waterjet saws.

Blanking: Blanking involves cutting out a portion of the sheet metal based on a stencil. Excess material is discarded or recycled.

Bending: Depending on your specific design, you may need to bend portions of the sheet metal pieces you have made. You can do this using press brakes and other tools.

Galvanizing: Corrugated roofing panels, for example, are a great example of this type of use. Zinc coated materials works effectively in prolonging the life of your roof.

Milling: If the metal work piece is still too thick and further reducing its thickness through rolling or stretching is impractical, milling is the next best course of action. It requires the use of a rotary cutter.

Welding: Joining together two pieces of metal by applying heat and pressure with gas or electricity can be used to build structures and create parts.

How is Brass Made?

Crafting brass is a complex journey that involves more than meets the eye. It takes both science and artistry to transform raw materials into beautiful objects. Creating brass involves several processes before it can become its recognizable bright gold appearance. Each step adds something special until we finally have one of mankind’s most enduring materials — brass.


Melting brass begins by heating the metal until it reaches its low melting point at 1,999 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the metal has reached its melting point, it will liquefy at the edges first before flowing towards the center of the container where it is heated. 

Gradually increasing the temperature throughout this process, to avoid uneven heating or cooling, is critical. Without a gradual climb in temperature, cracks may be present in the final product. The zinc present in a brass alloy gives the finished product a yellowish tint and increases its strength, while in copper alloys produce a deeper color and add elasticity to the alloy. 

Cold Rolling and Annealing

Cold rolling is a process that involves passing the brass through a series of rollers at different temperatures. This process reduces the thickness of the sheet, as well as increases its length. Cold rolling improves the material’s flexibility, tensile strength, hardness, and yield strength.

The annealing process helps improve the mechanical properties of brass. Annealing means heating brass to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. After cold rolling or annealing operations have been performed, it will be ready for further processing according to your specific needs.

Hot Rolling

Hot rolling is used to produce flat products, like sheet or plate, by passing them through a series of rollers under high pressure. The pressure causes the material to elongate and become thinner as it moves through each successive pair of rollers until it reaches its desired thickness.

This process can occur at room temperature or above 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. In brass manufacturing, hot rolling produces large coils of material that is then further cut-to-size into pattern sizes.

What is the difference between Aluminum Association, American Standard and Sharp Corner?

It’s one of those pieces of information that we all seem to misplace…what really IS the difference between Aluminum Association, American Standard and Sharp Corner products?

First, let’s name that shape! The base, or depth, is often noted as the first dimension of the shape. The thickness, or web, is the thickness of the base/depth. Lastly, the legs or flanges are the uprights of the channel.

Each of the different types, Aluminum Association (AA), American Standard (AS) and Sharp Corner (often called Architectural) have a different combination of leg and interior corner types.

Aluminum Association (AA) has curved (radius) interior corners and straight legs with flat ends.

Need help remembering? We like to make a connection between letters AA in Aluminum Association, and the flat ends of the legs.

American Standard (AS), on the other hand does not have ANY flat or sharp corner in its interior or legs. The legs taper from thick to thin and have rounded ends. You can almost see the shape of an “S” between the rounded legs and the radius interior corner.

Everything about “Sharp Corner” is what it sounds like! 90 degree interior corners and straight legs with flat ends make everything angular. Sharp Corner, or Architectural also only comes in aluminum alloy 6063.

How it’s Made: Aluminum

Aluminum, whether or not you know, is present in our daily lives in some fashion. But how did it get that way?

Let’s step back to look at how aluminum is made.

The first step in aluminum production is mining. Mining takes place in Bauxite-rich regions of the world such as the Caribbean, Australia and Africa. Bauxite is a naturally occurring ore that contains aluminum silicates that took millions of years to create from the natural chemical weathering of rocks.

After mining comes refining. Bauxite alone does not create aluminum, it’s the process of grinding the Bauxite and adding it to a mix of caustic soda and lime to which high heat is applied. After this intense process of heat and pressure occurs, aluminum oxide is created and precipitated out of the mix. It is washed and heated again. Now the mix looks like a white powder and is called ‘Alumina’. Alumina is also known as ‘aluminum oxide’.

Alumina is then smelted, which is an electrolytic reduction process. Electric current is passed through the bath of dissolved alumina and the aluminum metal is created and separates from the original chemical solution.

We aren’t done yet! After the aluminum is created it goes back into a furnace and is mixed with other metals or elements according to a precise scientific recipe in order to create a molten metal that is chemically suitable for certain applications. Purification then occurs and the molten metal is cast into ingots or molds and cools, awaiting its final processing.

Lastly, the ingot or cast material is either rolled, forged, drawn or extruded into its final form: sheet, plate, bar, tube or custom extrusion.

Bar stock can end up as the screws you buy from a hardware store and sheet products could be formed into a filing cabinet you use for important documents.

Next time you use or see something in your daily life that is aluminum- remember the long process it took to get that way and all the people and processing that happened along the way.

Tempering Designations for Aluminum

Aluminum is naturally a soft, low-density metal – too soft to be used for any structural applications in its pure form. Yet we see aluminum used regularly in high stress applications: construction, aircraft, even space shuttles. So how does such a ductile metal become so strong?
The first step is creating an aluminum alloy. Adding alloying elements such as copper, silicon and magnesium modify the mechanical properties of aluminum to produce a stronger metal. Further processing can then be done to add even more strength and durability to aluminum. One of the most popular methods of doing this is through tempering.

What is Tempering?
With controlled application of heat, metal is raised to nearly its critical temperature – a temperature just short of melting, high enough to alter a metal’s mechanical properties and relieve its internal stresses. The heat treatment is used to increase the hardness and ductility, while it decreases brittleness to prevent cracking and breakage. There are several different methods to produce the desired result, but the overall process is known as tempering.

What is an Aluminum Tempering Designation?
Once the tempering process is complete, the metal’s hardness is referred to as its temper. Its tempering designation identifies exactly what kind of heat treatment the metal has undergone. This is helpful in identifying the strength of a particular type of aluminum, and mechanical applications it is best suited for. Two pieces of aluminum alloy may have the same chemical composition, but if they have different tempering designations, their uses can be quite different.

What are the Tempering Designations?
The tempering designation is a two-character code attached after the aluminum alloy designation. The first character is a letter which identifies the type of tempering treatment used on the aluminum:

F: As fabricated. These are known as ‘semi-finished’ products, and often used in creating other finished tempers.
H: Strain hardened, used for wrought aluminum types which are non-heat treatable.
O: Annealed, which results in the lowest strength of tempered aluminum that has greater workability.
T: Thermally treated. These types of aluminum are heat-treated, quenched, and aged.

The second character of the tempering designation is a digit from 1-10, which helps to specify exactly how the tempering method was done. For instance, all T-series aluminum are thermally treated, but a naturally aged aluminum will have a different digit assignment than an artificially aged one. This level of detail helps to easily classify the type of aluminum and how it might best be used.

The T-series tempering designation is the most commonly used for aluminum, which can serve as an example showing the different tempering methods:

T1: Naturally aged after cooling from high temperatures during the forming process
T2: Cooled after a high-temperature forming process, cold worked, then naturally aged
T3: Solution heat-treated, cold worked, then naturally aged
T4: Naturally aged after a solution heat treatment
T5: Artificially aged after cooling from high temperatures during the forming process
T6: Artificially aged after a solution heat treatment
T7: Solution heat-treated, then overaged
T8: Solution heat-treated, cold worked, then artificially aged
T9: Solution heat-treated, artificially aged, then cold worked
T10: Cooled after a high-temperature forming process, cold worked, then naturally aged

Once familiar with these designations, it’s possible to quickly identify an aluminum alloy’s composition, tempering, and processing. Rather than looking up every type and grade, the tempering designation helps a buyer narrow their search for the strongest and hardest aluminum they need for the intended application.