Aluminum Testing

Aluminum Testing

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Test Aluminum Content in Seconds with a Bruker XRF Gun

Aluminum (Al) is one of the most important industrial metals there is and as such it is used in an enormous range of applications. Modern industry depends on reliable and efficient metallic aluminum testing. Bruker’s small and powerful S1 TITAN handheld XRF aluminum tester gun has become the standard solution for easy, state-of-the-art aluminium testing. The S1 TITAN yields near-lab accuracy in just seconds.

Today, Handheld XRF is the technology of choice for testing aluminum and other metals and their alloys. An XRF gun is both handy and cost-efficient, and it eliminates the need for lab testing. Handheld XRF guns use the physical phenomenon of X-ray fluorescence to determine the elemental composition of different materials. Bruker has been a global leader in XRF analysis technology since 1982.

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Aluminum: An Overview

In its pure form, alumium is a silver-white, soft, non-magnetic, ductile metal belonging to the Boron group (Group 13) of the Periodic Table. Next only to oxygen and silicon, aluminum is the most abundant element and metal in the earth’s crust (8.3 % by mass), although its occurrence starts to decrease in the earth’s mantle (2.2% by mass) where oxygen is the most abundant element.

The majority of aluminum does not occur naturally as its high reactivity means it is typically found combined with other elements in the form of an ore. Bauxite serves as the primary ore source for aluminum.

Aluminum is highly favored in manufacturing, especially in consumer products, food packaging, medication containers, and transportation. Its non-toxic nature means it is used frequently for perishable food preservation. Its light weight and strength make it the choice material in the transportation industry, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon footprint. Aluminum's low density makes it ideal for many applications, from power lines to household appliances.

Whatever the application, industrial quality control is essential to ensure that aluminum-based materials adhere to the required alloy specifications and compliance standards.

aluminum shredders for testing the aluminums grade

8 Properties that Make Aluminum Great for Industrial Applications

As of today, the global demand for aluminum is over 29 million tons per year. What´s making aluminum so popular in industrial uses across so many industries?

Here are the eight properties of Aluminum, which make it suitable for widespread use.

  1. Aluminum is a light metal with a high strength-to-weight ratio, meaning more Aluminum can be used to increase strength while remaining light. Consequently, for equipment which needs light but strong material Aluminum is highly cost-effective.

  2. Aluminum is known for its remarkable corrosion resistance both to general atmospheric corrosion and marine corrosion (although aluminum alloys fare differently in core marine environments). In addition, anodizing can help increase the corrosion resistance and scratch resistance of aluminum.

  3. Aluminum is widely prevalent in decorative uses, thanks to its high reflectivity. Reflectivity or reflectance is defined as how much the surface of a material reflects radiant energy. Aluminum is often considered to be one of the best lighting materials. With a light reflectivity of around 80%, it is a popular choice for LED light fittings. 

  4. Many aluminum alloys approximate the strength of construction steel. These alloys are particularly effective at absorbing crash energy, which is why they are preferred to steel in some of the tallest skyscrapers. Due to its strength and light weight aluminum is also widely used in shark cages!

  5. Even when subjected to exceedingly low temperatures, aluminum retains its original toughness (unlike carbon steels, which tend to become brittle). Whilst its yield and tensile strength may increase, there might be a slight decrease in elongation, although impact strength remains almost unchanged.

  6. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Electrical grade aluminum has a conductivity that is over 60% of that of electrical grade annealed copper. 

  7. Alloyed aluminum is non-toxic and is therefore widely used in food containers. Thanks to its conductivity, it distributes heat uniformly, improving the quality of cooking food in the oven. Because aluminum foil trays are entirely recyclable, sustainability is guaranteed. 

  8. Aluminum is easily formed, which is why it is often referred to as the ‘miracle metal’. Aluminum can be formed using a wide range of different forming processes - such as cold stamping, cryogenic forming, roll forming, deep-drawing, sheet hydroforming, incremental sheet forming, warm stamping, warm hydroforming, hot gas forming, hot stamping with rigid dies, and more. 

This list of properties is far from exhaustive. It is only intended to highlight the immense industrial significance of aluminum today. While the use of aluminum is widespread across industries, the automobile sector continues to lead the way. For instance, in the year 2015, Ford released the F-150 (which is made entirely of aluminum), shedding more than 15% of the body weight of the vehicle. With more and more studies gaining insight into the yet-undiscovered properties and benefits of aluminum, the industrial demand for the ‘miracle metal’ is set to grow. 

It stands to reason that every reasonable application of aluminum depends on accurate positive material testing. Contact Bruker today to find more about how our XRF guns can save aluminum testers many headaches!

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