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Manufacturing Alloys

We are only scratching the surface of an almost unlimited number of alloys that can be utilized. Our Principals each utilize a variety of alloys, that are optimized for each process and have been carefully vetted over decades to produce the best result when considering castability as well as machinability (if necessary). Here is a list of a few different alloy "families". There are entire websites dedicated to each of these materials, but this may be enough to get you started.

Redline Manufacturing Alloys

Our goal at Redline Manufacturing Consultants is to simplify your numerous choices and assist you with getting your specific application through the gauntlet of your own organization and into the market quickly and competitively. If you don't see an alloy listed her, please contact us with questions.

Alloy Descriptions and Properties

Physical Properties

  • Density .097 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield - 23,000 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

Aluminum is a silvery white, soft, ductile metal. Aluminum is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust.

Aluminum is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. Structural components made from aluminum and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and are important in other areas of transportation and structural materials.

Aluminum is a relatively soft, durable, lightweight, ductile and malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. It is nonmagnetic and does not easily ignite. A fresh film of aluminum serves as a good reflector of visible light and an excellent reflector of medium and far infrared radiation. The yield strength of pure aluminum is 7–11 MPa, while aluminum alloys have yield strengths ranging from 200 MPa to 600 MPa. Aluminum has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is easily machined, cast, drawn and extruded.

Physical Properties

  • Density .228 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 42,100 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

Zinc is a bluish-white, lustrous, diamagnetic metal, though most common commercial grades of the metal have a dull finish. It is somewhat less dense than iron and has a hexagonal crystal structure.

The metal is hard and brittle at most temperatures but becomes malleable between 100 and 150 °C. Zinc is a fair conductor of electricity. For a metal, zinc has relatively low melting (419.5 °C, 787.1 F) and boiling points (907 °C). Many alloys contain zinc, including brass, an alloy of copper and zinc.

Physical Properties

  • Density .654 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 21,800 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

Elemental magnesium is a rather strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal (two-thirds the density of aluminum). It tarnishes slightly when exposed to air, although, an oxygen-free environment is unnecessary for storage because magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide that is fairly impermeable and difficult to remove.

Physical Properties

  • Density .160 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 50,000 to 160,000 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

A metallic element, titanium is recognized for its high strength-to-weight ratio. It is a strong metal with low density that is quite ductile (especially in an oxygen-free environment), lustrous, and metallic-white in color. The relatively high melting point (more than 1,650 °C or 3,000 °F) makes it useful as a refractory metal. It is paramagnetic and has fairly low electrical and thermal conductivity.

Commercially pure grades of titanium have ultimate tensile strength equal to that of common, low-grade steel alloys, but are 45% less dense. Titanium is 60% more dense than aluminum, but 2-4x as strong as the most commonly used aluminum alloys.

Titanium is fairly hard (although not as hard as some grades of heat-treated steel), non-magnetic and a poor conductor of heat and electricity. Machining requires precautions, as the material will soften and gall if sharp tools and proper cooling methods are not used. Like those made from steel, titanium structures have a fatigue limit which guarantees longevity in some applications.

Physical Properties

  • Density .258 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 22,000 psi (grade 20), 42,500 (grade 40)

The presence of graphite flakes makes Grey Iron easily machinable as they tend to crack easily across the graphite flakes. Grey iron also has very good damping capacity and hence it is mostly used as the base for machine tool mountings.

Gray iron is divided into classes which corresponds with its minimum tensile strength in thousands of pounds per square inch (ksi); e.g. class 20 gray iron has a minimum tensile strength of 20,000 psi (140 MPa). Class 20 has a high carbon equivalent and a ferrite matrix. Higher strength gray irons, up to class 40, have lower carbon equivalents and a pearlite matrix. Gray iron above class 40 requires alloying to provide solid solution strengthening, and heat treating is used to modify the matrix. Class 80 is the highest class available, but it is extremely brittle.

Gray iron is a common engineering alloy because of its relatively low cost and good machinability, which results from the graphite lubricating the cut and breaking up the chips. It also has good galling and wear resistance because the graphite flakes self-lubricate. The graphite also gives gray iron an excellent damping capacity because it absorbs the energy.

Gray iron also experiences less solidification shrinkage than other cast irons that do not form a graphite microstructure. The silicon promotes good corrosion resistance and increase fluidity when casting.

Physical Properties

  • Density .280 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 50,000-180,000 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

Stainless steel does not readily corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does, but despite the name it is not fully stain-proof, most notably under low-oxygen, high-salinity, or poor-circulation environments. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide, and due to the greater volume of the iron oxide this tends to flake and fall away. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion by blocking oxygen diffusion to the steel surface and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure, and due to the similar size of the steel and oxide ions they bond very strongly and remain attached to the surface.

Physical Properties

  • Density .280 lb/in3
  • Tensile Strength Yield – 50,000-100,000 psi (depending on alloy and heat treat)

Steel is an alloy of iron, with carbon being the primary alloying element, up to 2.1% by weight. Carbon, other elements, and inclusions within iron act as hardening agents that prevent the movement of dislocations that naturally exist in the iron atom crystal lattices. Varying the amount of alloying elements, their form in the steel either as solute elements, or a precipitated phases, retards the movement of those dislocations that make iron so ductile and so weak, and so it controls qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. Steel can be made stronger than pure iron, but only by trading away ductility, of which iron has an excess.

Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.