Aside from steel, aluminum is the world’s most commonly used metal. In some cases, it can provide the strength of steel at a fraction of the weight. It’s also much stronger and longer lasting than many other materials on the market. Though aluminum comes in a wide range of forms, aluminum plate is one of the most widely used when extreme strength and tolerance are needed.
What Is Aluminum Plate?
Aluminum plates are flat, relatively thin pieces of aluminum. These plates are made by pressing aluminum with rollers to make it longer, wider, and thinner. They’re available in many sizes and thicknesses.
Plates are bulkier than aluminum sheets, which measure 0.249 inches thick or less. In contrast, aluminum plates are 0.250 inches thick and above. Aluminum sheets can be used in light-duty, functional scenarios and for decorative purposes whereas aluminum plate is used heavy-duty situations.
How Is Aluminum Plate Used?
Aluminum plate can be used in numerous ways. It’s often employed in the construction industry because of its durability and formability. It’s also one of the more energy-efficient building materials. It can reflect light and UV rays while holding in heat or cool air.
In addition to building construction, it’s widely used in the marine and aerospace industries. Aluminum plate can be molded and welded to fulfill numerous requirements. It’s resistant to corrosion, leak-proof, and can be welded to form tight joints that prevent air, water, and other factors from getting in or out. Those traits also make aluminum plate a suitable material for storage tanks.
From trailers and protective coverings for military vehicles to fuel tanks for spacecraft and electrical housings, aluminum plate is an ideal material for many applications. That said, choosing the right type of aluminum plate from a metal supply company is essential for success.
Different Grades of Aluminum Plate
Several aluminum grades are on the market. Each one offers its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Take a look at some of the more common grades before choosing plates for your upcoming project.
Aluminum plate 3003 has a smooth, somewhat shiny surface. It’s used in garage doors, hardware, and pressurized tanks to name a few instances. This grade of aluminum resists corrosion, can be welded and worked, and accepts certain types of finishes well.
Often used in marine applications, holding tanks, and many other situations, aluminum plate 5052 offers several positive qualities. It’s weldable and formable, highly resistant to corrosion, and very sturdy.
Aluminum plate 6061 is the most popular variety. It can be heat treated, welded, machined, formed, and subjected to corrosive elements with no trouble. It’s not quite as sturdy as some other grades, but its versatility tends to bridge that gap. Aluminum 6061 is used in a diverse range of applications.
With traits similar to many varieties of steel, 7075 is the strongest of the aluminum alloys. Because of its strength and hardness, it’s not necessarily the best option for machining and forming. It’s also the most expensive option. Still, it’s the best choice where the need for strength outweighs that of other characteristics.
In a Nutshell
When you need the utmost levels of strength, aluminum plate 7075 is the right choice. For ultimate versatility, 6061 would be more suitable. If you’re looking for aluminum plate that can serve decorative and functional purposes, 3003 is recommended. For aesthetically pleasing appearances and greater strength, 5052 might serve you well.