Aluminum bendingMinifaber has over 50 years of experience in bending aluminum, which is why it’ll not only provide you with the desired semi-finished or finished product, but it’ll also assist you with a personalized consultancy.
Minifaber’s technical office will guide you through every step of the aluminum bending process, from the very beginning until the very end, making sure that you pick the right alloy that best answers your needs.
How does aluminum bending work?
The process of bending aluminum is made extremely easy by this metal’s well-known characteristics. In high purity forms, aluminum is soft, ductile, malleable and light. These features allow to bend aluminum, without the risk of breaking it and causing cracks.
However, in many occasions pure aluminum isn’t sufficient (even if it’s easier to bend), and it’s presented the need for aluminum alloys.
So, which alloys are best suited for bending?
Bending aluminum alloys
In order to be able to answer that question, we need to consider 3 things:
Aluminum has a wide range of different alloys, with different chemical compositions, which make them applicable in various fields of metal processing. Let’s take a look at all the different series of aluminum alloys:
- Series 1: these are the alloys that have 99% of pure aluminum. They are very ductile and have excellent corrosion resistance
- Series 2: here aluminum is mixed with copper. These alloys have limited cold formability and less corrosion resistance than other alloys, which is why they are anodized prior to usage.
- Series 3: here aluminum is mixed with a 1% of manganese. These alloys have good corrosion resistance and very good formability.
- Series 4: these alloys present the addition of silicon, which lowers the melting point, and this is why it’s used entirely for manufacturing welding wire.
- Series 5: these alloys are mixed with magnesium. They exhibit a very good combination of high strength, resistance to corrosion, formability, and good weldability.
- Series 6: these alloys are made of a mixture of aluminum, magnesium and silicon. They exhibit great strength, good corrosion resistance, and ease of formability, and are mainly used in architectural applications.
- Series 7: this series includes alloys made of aluminum, zinc and magnesium, and also alloys made of aluminum, zinc and copper. They exhibit very high strength, which makes them very difficult to form.
2.Thickness and bend radius
When bending aluminum, there is something else that needs to be considered: during the process of bending, aluminum hardens and strengthens by reason of the working effect. Therefore, the thickness of the aluminum sheet and the bend radius are also critical factors that must be taken under consideration.
3.Level of elongation
Lastly, a third factor that needs to be considered is the percentage of elongation of each alloy and the difference between yield strength and ultimate tensile strength. On this percentage depends the level of formability of the aluminum alloy.
According to this mechanical rule: the higher the elongation value (meaning, the wider the range between yield and tensile strength), the better the forming ability of the alloy.
So, after applying this rule to the aforementioned alloys’ characteristics, it looks like the best aluminum series for bending are series 3, 5, and in some cases 6. Series 2 and 7 should be avoided due to the fact that, being extremely strong, they are difficult to form in any way.