Best Aluminum Alloys for Bending

Discover infinite possibilities

Aluminum stands as a remarkable metal known for its versatility. Its inherent ability to be shaped—particularly through bending—is a key trait that makes it invaluable in various industries. However, the bendability of aluminum isn’t universal; it hinges on the alloy and temper in use.

Choosing the right alloy and temper for bending isn’t a mere decision—it’s an art. By understanding the nuances of each alloy and temper, design engineers can harness the full potential of aluminum in product design.

We take pride in our ability to understand our client’s needs and tailor our services to fit their unique requirements. If you have any questions about which alloy or temper to use for your application, reach out to us.

Why Aluminum Bending Stands Out

Bending aluminum is both efficient and economical.

Benefits Include:

  • Design Versatility: Whether it’s an intricate geometric shape or a smooth curve, aluminum delivers.
  • Integrated Functionalities: Aluminum’s adaptability ensures that it can cater to diverse functions.
  • Visual Appeal: Smooth bends add to the aesthetic allure of finished products.
  • Bending Techniques: Aluminum can be bent using multiple methods, be it roller bending, press bending, draw bending, or stretch bending.

To achieve optimal results, it’s crucial to match the alloy and temper with the correct bending technique.

Important Factors that Determine Aluminum Bendability

Here are the 3 most important factors for deciding which alloy is needed for your application:

  • Strength vs. Ductility: Typically, as aluminum’s strength rises, its elongation or ductility diminishes, making bending more challenging.
  • Thickness and Bend Radius: During bending, aluminum hardens and strengthens. Thus, material thickness and the desired bend radius play a pivotal role in the outcome.
  • Percentage of Elongation: Examine both the percentage of elongation and the gap between yield strength and ultimate tensile strength. A wider gap signifies superior formability.

Aluminum Bendability Calculator

Using this handy tool, you can quickly determine the bendability of alloy & temper by inputting your Outside Diameter and Wall Thickness.

Alloys in the Spotlight: Bending Superstars

The grain structure of aluminum can also influence its bending capabilities, but here’s a short list of the alloys known for their bendability.

Aluminum Alloy 3003

Aluminum alloy 3003 is a versatile, medium-strength material with excellent corrosion resistance and formability, making it a popular choice for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.

Aluminum Alloy 6063

Aluminum alloy 6063 is a versatile material known for its excellent formability, good corrosion resistance, and ability to accept various finishes, making it a preferred choice for many architectural applications.

Aluminum Alloy 1100

Aluminum alloy 1100 is a highly ductile, corrosion-resistant material with excellent thermal properties, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, particularly where corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity are paramount.

Aluminum Alloys 6061 & 6082

These heat-treatable alloys showcase good elongation when annealed. However, moving to T4 and T6 tempers diminishes bendability. Consider bending in the T4 state and later transitioning to T6 through heat treatment.

Tempering Expectations: The Role of Tempers in Bending

Temper isn’t just a term—it’s pivotal in determining the bendability of aluminum:

For non-heat-treatable 3xxx and 5xxx series, the O-temper is the preferred choice for bending.

Heat-treatable alloys like the 6xxx, 7xxx, and 2xxx series should ideally be bent in the T4 condition, mainly due to its reduced yield strength. Yet, natural aging might affect yield strength over time, leading to potential bending inconsistencies. For certain applications, the more challenging-to-bend T6 might be a safer bet.

Use Cases

These are common types of product designs that share these requirements:

  • Walkers
  • Handrails
  • Automotive tubing
  • Bow rails
  • Outdoor furniture

Call us today to discuss the best alloy and temper for your application.