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Aluminum Solution Heat Treating

Aluminum, and its various alloys and Titanium are used in virtually every facet of the production of goods from aerospace to consumer products by virtue of its high strength to weight ratio.

In its pure state, aluminum is a relatively soft material that can be strengthened through the careful addition of small quantities of alloying materials. Alloy variations permit tailoring the properties of the base materials to suit the application. Prior to and after forming, heat treatment processes are used to facilitate the next step in manufacturing and are often the final step prior to delivery of the goods produced.                                                

The process parameters for the heat treatment of Aluminum alloys and Titanium are determined by the responsible engineering organization depending upon the desired outcome and intended use. The Aluminum & Titanium metals industry in general and the aerospace industry in particular recognizes and adheres to processes as determined and promulgated through AMS 2750E / NADCAP process specifications.

The most commonly required heat treatment processes are solution heat treatment and precipitation or age hardening.

Solution heat treatment involves raising the alloy temperature to a point where alloy constituents dissolve back into “solution” within the aluminum base material. This process is temperature critical and requires highly accurate control of both temperature and time at temperature. Once the correct condition has been achieved the material is quenched quickly insuring that the materials previously dissolved remain “frozen” in solution.

Precipitation or Age hardening makes use of the tendency of alloying materials to come back out of solution over time.  This process occurs even without special treatment, but Aging ovens are generally used to speed the process thereby assuring the delivered product is fully hardened and ready to be used.