Aluminum is a pure metal that is easily alloyed with small amounts of other materials like copper, manganese, silicone, or magnesium. It is not magnetic or combustible and is a good conductor of electricity. Aluminum offers good corrosion resistance and is generally easy to form and process. It comes in several different grades and is often used because of its weight. It weighs about 1/3 of other materials like iron, steel, copper, and brass. It conducts heat well and is non-toxic making it a good choice in a variety of applications. AL1060 is a wrought alloy with high electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and workability but somewhat low mechanical strength. It’s commonly used in electrical and chemical industries. AL6063 is most often used for architectural applications or trimming. It has high tensile properties and offers good finish options. It also offers high corrosion resistance and is a good option for anodized applications. AL 6061 is the most flexible heat-treated alloy with excellent workability. It’s well suited to most processes and has good corrosion resistance. AL 5052 is the highest strength non-heat-treated aluminum alloy and offers very good fatigue resistance. Highly workable, AL 5052 can be formed into complex shapes and offers good saltwater corrosion resistance.
Stainless steel includes a variety of sheet metals which contain at least 10.5% chromium. There are many different grade available, offering corrosion resistant and a commercially familiar appearance. Standard or austenitic stainless steel (300 series steels) is very common and does not require heat during the manufacturing process. They offer good corrosion resistance, formability, and weldability. SS301 has high work hardening and is commonly used for trailer bodies and fasteners. SS304 has low carbon, is an economical grade but is not seawater resistant. SS316 has higher molybdenum content that improves its resistance to seawater corrosion. A lower carbon version(SS316L) is available for better corrosion resistance after welding.
Hot rolled steel is produced when steel is processed by a series of roll presses at temperatures over 1700°F. The process creates a steel that is easily formed or shaped into large pieces and is best used where tolerances aren’t as important. Q235 and Q345 are 16 Mn steel grade with good formability and weldability properties. It’s commonly used for structural applications and parts for a variety of industries. Q345 offers better performance at low temperatures and offers better steel strength.
Cold rolled steel (CRS) is essentially hot rolled steel that has gone through an additional rolling process at room temperature. This additional processing produces a steel with closer tolerances and a broader range of finishes. The result is an increase in strength by as much as 20% compared to hot rolled steel. SPCC is commonly used for automotive parts and some construction applications. SPCC can be used for galvanized products, appliances, containers, and other products. SAPH440 is commonly used for automotive frames, wheels, and other parts. It has very good tensile strength making it a good choice for load bearing or structural uses.
Cold galvanized steel has a zinc coating painted to the steel surface to protect if from corrosion. The coating will provide both a barrier protection and a galvanic protection to help extend the life of the product. It can be applied with brushes, rollers, sprayers, or through electrogalvanizing. The paint includes special binders so it will mechanically bond to the steel. SGCCis a galvanized steel with good weldability and formability. It can have a pure zinc coating or have a Zn/Fe alloy coating.