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A Guide to Understanding Marine Grade Aluminum

For shipbuilding, offshore drilling platforms, and other uses, the corrosive nature of water and saltwater necessitates the usage of specific materials. Marine-grade aluminum is incredibly well-suited for making seagoing structures and vessels, as well as the equipment and parts utilized inside of them, because of its many advantageous qualities.

What is Marine-Grade Aluminum?

The frequent contact with water and moisture in maritime applications necessitates additional protection, even though pure aluminum has a strong natural resistance to corrosion compared to many other metals. Aluminum gains a higher level of corrosion resistance that can withstand continuous contact with water and saltwater when alloyed with other metals, such as magnesium. Marine-grade aluminum is the term used to describe these carefully processed aluminum alloys.

What are the Benefits of Using Aluminum in Marine Applications?

Aluminum that has been specially formulated for usage in marine conditions is known as marine-grade aluminum. As a result, it has several characteristics needed for various applications. The following are a few of these qualities:

  • Superior resistance to corrosion
  • High strength-to-weight ratio while being lightweight
  • Compatibility with several different fabrication techniques
  • A wide range of sheets, extrusions, and plates are available

Properties of Aluminum for Marine Applications

Numerous marine aluminum grades are available, and because different alloy materials are used, each has slightly different qualities.

A range of stock shapes, such as plate, sheet, coil, pipe, tube, bars, and extrusions, is available from Continental Steel in numerous grades of marine aluminum. Additionally, we can give them varying levels of rage. We can offer the following grades:

  • 5083 – Aluminum 5083 marine grade is the best choice for applications requiring exceptional corrosion resistance in harsh conditions. The most robust aluminum alloy that cannot be heated is 5083, which keeps its strength even after welding.
  • 5086 – With exceptional corrosion resistance, this alloy is very conductive. 5086 can be stronger than 5083 by strain hardening and cold working. Electric arc welding is favored for this alloy even though it can be used with other types of welding.
  • 5454 –The advantages of 5454 are its high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, good formability, and good Weldability.
  • 5456 – The material 5456 is well suited to the extrusion process and is widely utilized for structural applications. Processes like rolling and forging can also form it. Cold working can strengthen 5456 but also diminish its ductility.
  • 5754 –The marine industry and other industrial applications with harsh operating environments are excellent candidates for 5754 due to their outstanding corrosion resistance. Because of its superior strength, it can also be used for flooring applications.
  • 6061 – The precipitation-hardened alloy 6061, used for maritime fittings and hardware, is composed of silicon and magnesium. It is one of the most popular alloys for general-purpose applications, has excellent mechanical qualities, and is a marine-grade aluminum alloy.

Aluminum Products for Marine Applications

A wide range of marine items is made with marine aluminum. Metal powder and honeycomb panels are two of these.

The honeycomb panels’ design was influenced by how bee colonies use honeycombs.

A hexagonal layer of aluminum-fabricated honeycomb makes up the core of a honeycomb panel. Two aluminum plates with adhesive on either side are inserted between the core and one plate. The thicknesses at which this structure can be constructed can vary.

Following are some advantages of honeycomb panels:

  • Small weight
  • High strength, stiffness, and vibration absorption
  • High impact resistance
  • Good heat and sound insulation
  • Decent flexibility

Compared to a solid sheet with the same mechanical characteristics and thickness, the honeycomb panel uses less aluminum, making it more economical than aluminum panels. Additionally, shipping fees for large orders are reduced because of their decreased weight. Infinite recycling is possible for honeycomb panels, just like for all aluminum.

The marine sector is one of many that uses aluminum metal powders. Metal injection molding, surface coating, and additive manufacturing use these tiny aluminum particles.

Marine Grade Aluminum From Continental Steel

High-quality specialty metals, including marine aluminum, are supplied and distributed by Continental Steel, an ISO 9001:2015-certified supplier and distributor. To enable one-stop shopping for our clients, we offer these value-added services for all grades of aluminum:

  • Anodizing
  • Chemical milling
  • Deep hole drilling
  • Grinding
  • Perforating
  • Polishing
  • Rigidizing
  • Trepanning

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