Why 3003 Aluminum Remains the Most Commonly Used Alloy Grade

The next time you purchase an N-95 mask, check around the bridge of the nose. On the upper side, you may notice a thin sheet metal. The tiny strip is commonly made from 3003 aluminum. It represents one of the many applications for the versatile aluminum grade.

The aluminum ore, converted from bauxite, is the most abundant metal element in the earth’s crust. The Aluminum market had a valuation of $147.2 billion globally as of 2018, with projections pointing towards a 6.5% CAGR to hit $235.8 billion by 2025.

With so many aluminum alloys among the combined metals, the Aluminum Association came up with a four-digit classification for the different grades. 3003 aluminum is part of the 3xxx series. It is not only the most commonly used alloy within the series but across all alloys. It is arguably on the best general-purpose thin metal strips around. Here are several properties that make 3003 Aluminum the most common alloy grade.

1. Chemical Composition

3003 aluminum is essentially commercially pure aluminum with the addition of metallic elements such as magnesium, zinc, and copper to the aluminum base. The alloy gets a 20% increase in strength over the 1100 grade due to the manganese addition. It may contain 98.6% pure aluminum, 1.0 Mn, 0.12% Cu, and 0.1 Zn. The numbers are ‘typical’; you may have to reach out to a Thin Metal Sales representative to check if the properties meet your required application.

2. Corrosion Resistance

The 3003 Aluminum metal alloy has excellent corrosion resistance, making it a popular option for a variety of industries. It makes up an ideal combined metal in a wide range of atmospheric environments, especially in the food and construction industries.

3. Hardness

On strength metrics, the 3003 aluminum grade ranks among the medium. It is not hardened by heating but through cold work. As a work-hardened alloy, it is often described as non-heat-treatable. The hardening is through mechanical deformation such as rolling or hammering to change its structure. Depending on the method used, you can find different hardness designations, including ‘H-14’ and ‘H-18.’

4. Workability

One of the most beneficial properties of aluminum is its formability. Bending is one of the main ways to determine workability and a key feature in the fabrication process. Taking into consideration formability, thickness, and bend radius, 3003 aluminum is an excellent candidate for bending. Between moderate strength and cold formability, it offers among the best balance on yield and tensile strength.

5. Variety of Applications

You will commonly find 3003 aluminum in settings that require moderate strength and excellent formability. These properties render the alloy a general-purpose combined metal. Some of the industrial applications include.

  • Construction: Aluminum 3003 is present on roofs, folded sheets, siding, garage doors, and more
  • Automotive: Truck and trailer roofing
  • Oil and Gas: You may use it in fuel tanks, pipe jacketing, gas lines, and much more

You may also find additional applications in the food, chemical, and architectural industries.

The strength and workability properties of the 3003 aluminum make the alloy an ideal choice for various uses. You can contact Thin Metal Sales Inc. to make your order for your aluminum needs. Our competitive rates, excellent customer service, and processing technologies give us an edge in supplying combined metals nationwide.

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