Aluminum tubing is one of the most widely used materials in industry today. This has less to do with the actual tubing itself and more to do with the material it’s made from.
Aluminum is versatile, abundant and 100% recyclable. It is also flexible and lightweight, and, when alloyed with one or more additional metals, its resultant strength and anti-corrosion properties make it a very attractive material for many different applications.
Types of Tubing
There are several different kinds of aluminum tubing, with extruded aluminum tube being the least expensive and most common. It is commonly available in square, rectangular and round tube.
Square and rectangular tubing are commonly used in products where weight and resistance to corrosion are very important. These two types of tubing have square corners inside and out, with no weld seam. Round aluminum tube has a smooth interior with no seam.
Aluminum tubes with walls too thin to be extruded are manufactured by rolling and welding narrow aluminum strip. This kind of tubing is relatively cheap, and is often found on products where light support is needed, such as toys, lawn furniture and guttering.
Precision tubing is often used in applications where it is necessary for heat to move from one location to another, such as in refrigerators and motor vehicles, as well as in air conditioning, solar power, heating and ventilation systems.
Types of Alloy
The kind of alloy used for the manufacture of aluminum tubing varies depending on the intended end use of the tube. Two of the most common alloys for tubing are:
* 6061 Aluminum – this is one of the most common aluminum alloys due to its strength and good machining capabilities. It is also lightweight, and looks very good once it has been anodized. It has good resistance to corrosion, and is commonly used in structural applications such as machine supports, frames, electrical fittings, bike frames and truck racks.
* 6063 Aluminum – This has excellent weldability, formability and corrosion resistance. Because of its finer grain structure, it anodizes better than 6061. It is commonly found in exposed applications such as door and window frames, railings, furniture and irrigation systems.