Aluminum is a lightweight material known for its corrosion resistance and ease of machining. When strengthened through additional alloying and heat treat conditioning, aluminum becomes a material that provides strength similar to mild, low carbon alloy steel, making it ideal for a range of aluminum casting applications. It is because of these physical and mechanical property improvements that aluminum alloy castings are being more commonly used in various environmental conditions throughout many industries.
The fluidity of aluminum alloys provides the component designer to use thin-walled sections when needed and to enable complex part design. To maximize strength, support webbing can be used to provide rigidity in critical areas. Its low melting point and rapid heat transfer also results in shorter casting cycles and decreased production time. Aluminum alloy casting is a highly versatile process that provides a range of additional benefits, including:
- High strength-to-weight ratio
- Excellent chemical stability
- Superior corrosion resistance
- Resistance to high temperatures
- Outstanding thermal and electrical conductivity
- Smooth as-cast surface finish
Aluminum investment casting is a versatile solution used by a range of industries including military, aerospace, medical, automotive, heavy truck, agricultural, and others. It can be used for numerous parts and components including valves, medical devices, levers, appliances, hand tools, brackets, automotive parts, aircraft components, and machinery.
Aluminum Alloy Casting Increases the Durability of Parts and Components
Aero Metals Inc. has extensive experience in aluminum alloy casting working with a broad range of other ferrous and non-ferrous alloy materials. We can produce aluminum alloy castings with varying geometries, dimensional accuracy, exceptional surface finish, thin walls (0.040”), and fine detail. We design and build all tools in house and provide CNC machining services to complete your aluminum castings.
All of our aluminum investments castings are produce from a wax mold either transferred to us or built at our in-house tool room and poured from our 600 pound induction melt furnace. Our engineers can produce intricate detail cast parts through the use of creative pre- and post-cast techniques.
Our raw aluminum casting materials are certified prior to purchase, as in the case of aerospace grade aluminum alloys or we certify the alloy in our spectrometer lab before use. Once the casting has been cast and cleaned, we can improve strength, machinability, corrosion resistance and ductility by heat treating to the specifications of the drawing. The most common aluminum alloy investment casting grades we use are A356 and 356, each of which provides good casting and machining characteristics.
Aluminum Alloy A356 Casting
Aero Metals primarily casts A356 and 356 aluminum alloy castings for aerospace and industrial applications. Aluminum A356 provides moderate strength, excellent castability, weldability and pressure tightness and is categorized as Cast Aluminum Alloy with the following composition:
Alloy A356 Composition:
- 92.05% Aluminum (Al)
- 7.00% Silicon (Si)
- 0.35% Magnesium (Mg)
- 0.20% Iron (Fe)
- 0.20% Copper (Cu)
- 0.10% Manganese (Mn)
- 0.10% Zinc (Zn)
Heat Treatments for Aluminum Alloy Casting
Depending on your needs relative to strength and ductility, we have the capabilities of providing heat treatment to further increase strength, hardness and other mechanical properties. This process is provided through one of our outside partners.
Annealing occurs after the investment casting process is complete and involves heating the aluminum alloy for up to three hours to recrystallize the alloy, which makes the component easier to work.
Solution heat treatment is a similar process to annealing, but includes a quenching process that quickly cools the casted aluminum alloy after heating to help preserve distribution of the elements. After the aluminum alloy is cooled, one of three different aging processes is used to allow the alloy to return to its hardened state. The type of aging process chosen is dependent upon the amount of time needed to work the material after heat treatment.
Our aluminum alloy casting heat treatments include:
- T2 (Anneal): annealing without any additional processes
- T4 (Solution Heat Treat & Naturally Age): creates a substantially stable condition and is ideal for parts that will not be cold worked after treatment
- T6 (Solution Heat Treat & Artificially Age): creates mechanical properties that are not affected by cold working
- T61* (Solution Heat Treat, Quench and Age): uses a boiling water quench and provides a maximum strength of up to 40K PSI tensile for aluminum alloy castings.
Contact Us to Learn More About Aluminum Investment Casting Solutions
Aero Metals provides investment casting services using a range of alloy materials. If you don’t see the alloy of your interest, we have the ability to pour any “air melted” aluminum alloy. Contact us to have our resident metallurgist help in choosing an alloy for your project. We can help you find the right alloy to fit your particular needs.