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Aluminum Die Casting

Aluminum - This alloy is lightweight, while possessing high dimensional stability for complex shapes and thin walls. Aluminum has good corrosion resistance and mechanical properties, high thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as strength at high temperatures.

Aluminum die casting is a process where molten aluminum alloy is injected into a casting die under high pressure and at a controlled temperature. The mold has two sections, the "cover" half and the "ejector" half. The die may also have additional moveable segments called slides or pulls, which are used to create features such as undercuts or holes, which are parallel to the parting line.

Aluminum die castings dies are run in cold chamber die casting machines. These machines are operated at the required temperatures and pressures to produce a quality part to net-shape or near net-shape specifications. Aluminum die castings can be readily machined, anodized, painted, powder coated or even chrome plated.

Because of its superior mechanical properties, aluminum die castings are among the highest volume, mass produced items manufactured by the metalworking industry today.

Aluminum die castings are important components of products like automobiles, computers, washers, dryers, refrigerators, furnaces and even toys. Some parts can be as simple as a faucet handle or as complex as a transmission housing.

 

Product Applications for Aluminum die casting alloys

Alloy 380 is the most common of the aluminum die casting alloys. It offers the best combination of casting and product properties. It is used for a wide variety of products such as garden equipment, chassis for electronic equipment, engine brackets, housings for automotive alternators, starters and water pumps, home appliances, furniture, office equipment hand tools and power tools.

Alloys 383 and 384 are alternatives to 380 that are specified when very intricate components require improved die filling characteristics and improved resistance to hot cracking.

Alloy 360 offers high corrosion resistance and superior strength at elevated temperatures than 380. Other properties are essentially equivalent.

Alloy 413 offers the best die fill characteristics making it excellent for pressure tightness applications. It is the choice for products such as hydraulic cylinders and pressure vessels. Its casting characteristics make it useful for very intricate components.

Alloy 390 was developed for automotive engine blocks. Resistance to wear is excellent, but ductility is the lowest of the die casting alloys, with elongation less than 1%. Special surface treatment systems allow engine pistons to run directly on the alloy surface, eliminating the need for ferrous alloy liners. It can also be used for valve bodies and bearing surfaces subject to abrasion and wear.  

Alloy 518 is used in escalator components, conveyer components, and marine and aircraft applications It offers good ductility, and very good corrosion resistance. It can be polished and anodized for a decorative finish.

Additional Resources

Mechanical properties of aluminum and zinc alloys (table)

Physical properties of aluminum and zinc alloys (table)


  Aluminum Die Casting Alloys Zinc Die Casting Alloys
  A360 A380 383 B390 A413 518 #2 #3 #5 #7 ZA-8 ZA-12 ZA-27
Ultimate Tensile Strength (ksi) 46 47 45 46 42 45 53 41 48 41 54 59 62
Tensile Yield Strength (ksi) 24 23 22 36 19 28 41 32 39 32 41-43 45-48 52-55
Compressive Yield Strength ( ksi) - - - - - - 93 60 87 60 37 39 52
Elongation (% in 2") 3.5 3.5 3.5 <1 3.5 5.0 7 10 7 13 6-10 4-7 2.0-3.5
Hardness(BHN) 500kg load 10mm ball 75 80 75 120 80 80 100 82 91 80 100-103 95-105 116-122
Shear Strength, (ksi) 26 27 - - 25 29 46 31 38 31 40 43 47
Impact Strength ft-lb ASTM .25" die cast bar - 3 3 - - 7 35 43 48 43 24-35 15-27 7-12
Fatigue Strength (ksi)(Rotary Bent 108) 18 20 21 20 19 20 8.5 6.9 8.2 6.9 15 - 21
Young's Modulus  ( psi x 106) 10.3 10.3 10.3 11.8 - - 12.4 12 11.3
  Aluminum die casting alloys Zinc die casting alloys
  A360 A380 383 B390 A413 518 #2 #3 #5 #7 ZA-8 ZA-12 ZA-27
Density (lbs./in3) 0.095 .098 .099 .098 .096 .093 .24 .24 .24 .24 .227 .218 .181
Melting Range (°F) 1035-1105 1000-1100 960-1080 950-1200 1065-1080 995-1150 715-734 718-728 717-727 718-728 707-759 710-810 708-903
Specific Heat BTU/ lb °F 0.230 0.230 0.230 - 0.230 - .10 .10 .10 .10 .104 .107 .125
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (µ in./in. °F X 10-6) 11.6 12.1 11.7 10.0 11.9 13.4 15.4 15.2 15.2 15.2 12.9 13.4 14.4
Thermal Conductivity   (BTU / ft hr °F) 65.3 55.6 55.6 77.4 70.21 55.6 60.5 65.3 62.9 65.3 66.3 67.1 72.5
Electrical Conductivity (% IACS) 29 23 23 27 31 24 25.0 27.0 26.0 27.0 27.7 28.3 29.7
Poisson's Ratio .33 .33 .33 - - - .30 .30 .30 .30 .30 .30 .30

 

  Aluminum alloy chemical specifications (% by weight) Zinc alloy chemical specifications (% by weight)
  A360 A380 383 B390 A413 518   #2 #3 #5 #7 ZA-8 ZA-12 ZA-27
Silicon (Si) 9.0-10.0 7.5-9.5 9.5-11.5 16.0-18.0 11.0-13.0 .35 Aluminum (Al) 3.9-4.3 3.9-4.3 3.9-4.3 3.9-4.3 8.2-8.8 10.8-11.5 25.5-28.0
Iron (Fe) 1.3 2.0 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.8 Magnesium (Mg) .025-.05 .03-.06 .03-.06 .01-.02 .02-.03 .02-.03 .012-.02
Copper (Cu) .6 3.0-4.0 2.0-3.0 4.0-5.0 1.0 .25 Copper (Cu) 2.7-3.3 .10 .7-1.1 .10 .9-1.3 .5-1.2 2.0-2.5
Manganese (Mn) .35 .50 .50 .50 .35 .35 Iron (Fe) .035 .035 .035 .075 .035 .05 .07
Magnesium (Mg) .4-.6 .30 .10 .45-.65 .1 7.5-8.5 Lead (Pb) .004 .004 .004 .002 .002 .005 .005
Nickel (Ni) .5 .5 .3 .10 .5 .15 Cadmium (Cd) .003 .003 .003 .002 .005 .005 .005
Zinc (Zn) .5 3.0 3.0 1.5 .5 .15 Tin (Sn) .0015 .0015 .0015 .0010 .002 .002 .002
Tin (Sn) .15 .35 .15 - .15 .15 Nickel (Ni) - - - .005-.020 - - -
Titanium (Ti) - - - .10 - - Zinc (Zn) Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal.
Others (each) - - - .10 - -                
Others (Total) .25 .50 .50 .20 .25 .25                
Aluminum (Al) Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal. Bal.