Which aluminum alloy bends best? This is a common question among many Edmo Ltd customers. However, you can’t provide a direct answer to this question without considering some factors. Typically, aluminum is a soft and ductile metal, and its bending is usually a delicate and demanding process.
On the other hand, aluminum alloys usually go through various treatment procedures during their production. Working on pure aluminum is always easier than working on an alloy. As a result, some alloys are better for bending than others. So, what are some of the bending characteristics that should be considered when determining whether a particular aluminum alloy is good for bending?
Thickness and Bend Radius
The thickness and bending radius of an alloy are critical factors to consider during the bending process. Just like any other sheet metal, aluminum tends to harden during the bending process which means that it tends to get stronger and harder during bending. Therefore, if the radius of the sheet is small in relation to the thickness of the material being bent, then the material becomes overworked and will most likely fail.
If the radius is bent lower than the highly recommended minimums based on the aluminum alloy type, then it may also compromise the overall integrity of the part and will also breach any warranties issued by the supplier.
Percentage of Elongation
The percentage of elongation basically refers to the relative difference between the material’s yield strength and its ultimate tensile strength. The yield strength is used to refer to the exact point at which the alloy is bent and can no longer go back to its original shape.
Tensile strength is the sum of stress that can technically be applied to a material before it finally breaks. Typically, the higher the elongation percentage value, the wider the overall range between yield and the tensile strength hence the better the bending ability of the alloy.
Different alloys have different formability degrees. Generally, alloys with a higher degree of formability tend to be good a selection when it comes to the bending process. Typically, the higher the formability degree of an aluminum alloy, the lower the strength.
There are specific alloys that are better for forming and bending as opposed to others. For instance, the aluminum-magnesium alloys usually exhibit a perfect combination of formability, high resistance, good weldability, and resistance to corrosion which makes them a good alloy for bending.