Aluminum Castings are used widely throughout the marine industry. The high weight to strength ratio and non-corrosive characteristics of aluminum, make aluminum castings a perfect fit for marine applications.
Why Aluminum Alloy for Marine Application?
Aluminum is a very active metal, meaning that its nature is to oxidize very quickly. While a weakness for most metals, this quality is actually the key to its ability to resist corrosion. When oxygen is present (in the air, soil or water), aluminum instantly reacts to form aluminum oxide. This aluminum oxide layer is chemically bound to the surface, and it seals the core aluminum from any further reaction. This is quite different from oxidation (corrosion) in steel or iron, where rust puffs up and flakes off, constantly exposing new metal to corrosion. Aluminum’s oxide film is tenacious, hard, and instantly self-renewing. So due to its corrosion resistance, aluminum alloy is widely used for marind application.
Why Aluminum Casting for Marine Application?
Casting methods used for marine application with aluminum alloy could be gravity casting, die casting or sand casting. Any aluminum casting process is selected following the structure of the component. Take example, for material ADC12 with very thin wall thickness, die casting is preferred. But if the quantity is not large, to save cost, we can also choose gravity casting instead.
- Casting process enjoys lots of advantages vis-a-vis other metal forming processes such as forging, welding, stamping, rolling, extruding, etc. The reasons for the success of the casting process are:
- Owing to physical properties, some metals can only be cast since they cannot be re-modelled into bars, rods, plates or other shapes.
- It’s a process highly adaptable to the requirements of mass production. Large numbers of a given casting can be produced quickly.
- Certain light aluminum alloys because of their respective strength and weakness, can be produced only as castings.
- Shows excellent bearing qualities.
Examples of Aluminum Castings for Marine Application
- Power steering units
- Cleats, handles, brackets, covers and other boat hardware
- Enclosures for marine electronics
- Marine engines
- Heat exchangers
Advantages of Aluminum Castings for Marine Application
- Low cost, precision, long life tooling
- Unit cost savings over alternate manufacturing methods
- Durable, cleanable surfaces that can be painted, powder coated or anodized.
- Lightweight aluminum alloys with superior strength
- Able to cast intricate features
- Excellent corrosion resistance