Pros and Cons of 7075 Aluminum Extrusions

Introduction

7075 aluminum extrusions are popular due to its excellent combination of strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, making it suitable for applications across aerospace, automotive and marine industries, sporting good production as well as industrial equipment manufacturing. As with any material however, 7075 has both advantages and drawbacks that must be carefully considered; we will explore both in this article.

Advantages of 7075 Aluminum Extrusions

  1. High Strength
    One of the primary advantages of 7075 aluminum extrusions is their outstanding strength. This alloy boasts an 83,000 psi tensile strength rating, making it stronger than many other aluminum alloys and making possible lightweight yet sturdy structures while simultaneously decreasing material and transportation costs.
  2. Outstanding Corrosion Resistance
    7075 aluminum extrusions offer excellent corrosion resistance even under harsh environmental conditions, making them suitable for outdoor applications where moisture, saltwater or chemicals could potentially present problems. Their corrosion protection can even be enhanced further via surface treatments like anodizing and powder coating.
  3. Machinability mes One advantage of 7075 aluminum extrusions is their excellent machinability, as this alloy can easily be formed, cut, drilled and milled for intricate designs with tight tolerances or precise components. It makes 7075 an excellent option when looking for precision applications requiring intricate components or precision tolerances.
  4. Heat Treatable
    7075 aluminum extrusions are heat treatable, meaning they can be strengthened through a process called precipitation hardening. This allows manufacturers to tailor the mechanical properties of the material to meet specific requirements. By heat treating the extrusions, they can achieve even higher levels of strength and hardness.
  5. Wide Range of Applications
    Due to its exceptional properties, 7075 aluminum extrusions find applications in various industries. They are commonly used in the aerospace industry for aircraft structural components, such as wing spars and fuselage frames. In the automotive industry, they are utilized for chassis components and suspension parts. Additionally, they are employed in the production of bicycle frames, sporting goods, and industrial equipment.

Cons of 7075 Aluminum Extrusions

  1. Cost
    One of the main drawbacks of 7075 aluminum extrusions is their relatively high cost compared to other aluminum alloys. The additional alloying elements, such as zinc and copper, contribute to the increased price. However, when considering the material’s exceptional strength and performance, the cost can be justified for applications that require its unique properties.
  2. Limited Weldability
    7075 aluminum extrusions have limited weldability compared to other aluminum alloys. The high levels of zinc present in the alloy can cause cracking during the welding process. Specialized welding techniques and equipment are required to successfully weld 7075 aluminum. In some cases, alternative joining methods, such as mechanical fastening or adhesive bonding, may be preferred.
  3. Susceptible to Stress Corrosion Cracking
    While 7075 aluminum extrusions offer excellent corrosion resistance, they are susceptible to stress corrosion cracking in certain environments. This type of corrosion occurs when the material is exposed to a combination of tensile stress and corrosive environments, such as chloride-containing solutions. Proper design and surface treatments can help mitigate this risk.
  4. Limited Formability
    Compared to other aluminum alloys, 7075 aluminum extrusions have limited formability. They are less ductile and more prone to cracking when subjected to bending or forming operations. Complex shapes or tight radii may be challenging to achieve with this alloy. However, with the right techniques and equipment, manufacturers can still produce a wide range of extruded profiles.
  5. Higher Machining Costs
    While 7075 aluminum extrusions are known for their machinability, the high strength of the alloy can result in increased machining costs. The harder the material, the more wear on cutting tools, leading to more frequent tool changes and higher production costs. It is important to consider these factors when planning the manufacturing process.

Conclusion

7075 aluminum extrusions offer several advantages, such as their high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, machinability, heat treatability and range of applications. Unfortunately, they also come with certain drawbacks, such as higher costs, limited weldability susceptibility stress corrosion cracking limited formability higher machining costs when selecting them as the final choice for an application. It is essential when making this choice to consider all potential pros and cons so as to match exactly with individual application needs.