In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics of the metal and steel aging process. Possible in both natural and artificially sped-up formats, metal aging involves altering the properties of a given metal alloy to change its characteristics, often quickly and in major ways.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to explain metal aging or any of the other processes that are possible on all our steel products, from our steel tube to steel pipe, steel bar and many other product options. In today’s part two, we’ll go over some of the various metal types that are commonly put through the metal aging process, including stainless steel, plus some of the grades that are best for aging if you’re planning on performing it for any of these metal types in the near future.
One broad note here as we begin: The primary characteristic that dictates whether a given metal can be aged to alter its physical properties is the ability to be heat-treated. Metals that can withstand this process can generally be aged, while those that cannot generally can’t be.
One example of such a metal is stainless steel, which is commonly put through the heat treatment process for a variety of purposes. Stainless steel is known to have extremely high strength and hardness, especially in grades like 17/10P, 17/4PH and 17/7PH. Proper aging in these alloys allows for great metal precipitates in their structures, which causes their excellent hardness and strength.
Commonly used within the artificial aging realm, aluminum products are almost all eligible for aging – and many of them draw their primary strength from this process. Such aluminum products include the 2XXX, 6XXX and 7XXX series.
A common aluminum option used here is 6061-T6, which comes with magnesium silicide precipitates. These precipitates block dislocations and improve strength and hardness in major ways, allowing for very different applications than what would have been possible without aging.
Many industries also utilize a couple types of copper-beryllium alloys that are commonly aged: C17200 and C17300, to be specific. Copper is normally known for its softness and ductility, but the aging process can improve its hardness and strength to allow for various different applications. With copper, the aging process is often combined with the addition of other alloying elements to get the desired final result.
Finally, there are several other metal types that may be aged in the right circumstances. These include nickel, titanium, magnesium and even others – the metals must have alloying elements that make them solution heat-treatable, as we noted earlier in this entry.
For more on the kinds of metals that can be aged, or to learn about any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.