356 aluminum castings contain varying percentages of silicon, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, and titanium. They also offer exceptional machining and casting properties that ensure durability, pressure tightness, strength, and reliability.
In many cases, A356-T6 aluminum casting alloy is a suitable replacement for the wrought aluminum alloy 6061-T6. Most 356 aluminum alloys need to be heat treated to achieve T5 or T6 hardness qualities.
Keep reading to learn more about 356 aluminum alloys and their properties, benefits, and common applications.
Properties of 356 Alloys
356 alloys are considered one of the best aluminum castings for intricate and complex manufacturing applications. It’s commonly used to manufacture components for commercial and military aircraft, aerospace/defense systems, orbital communications satellites and automotive structural parts.
The 356 aluminum casting alloy has exceptional weldability, minimal levels of impurities, and can be strengthened through heat treatments, including T51, T6, and T71. It’s also non-toxic, non-combustible, and stable at lower temperatures.
In addition to its composition advantages, 356 aluminum castings also provide a wide array of benefits during the manufacturing process.
Advantages of 356 Aluminum Alloys
It’s no secret that manufacturers that incorporate aluminum into their products want an alloy that provides exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and specific tensile rigidity. That’s why many manufacturing businesses choose 356 aluminum castings. In addition to its cost-effectiveness and robust resistance to friction and force, it also offers additional benefits, including:
- Superior Strength When Exposed to Elevated Temperatures
- High Resistance to Heat Cracking
- Resistance to Corrosion
- Lower Cost Compared to Other Materials
- Excellent Tensile Strength
- Good Weldability
Common Industries & Applications for 356 Aluminum
356 aluminum is a leading choice for many aluminum investment casting companies, and is commonly used in aerospace and military applications where rigidity and strength are required.
Applications that rely on the functional and durability of 356 aluminum include:
- Antenna systems
- Guidance systems
- Lens and optical housings
- Missile systems
- Rocket propulsion & launch vehicle systems
- Satellite support structures
- Telescope housings and mounting components
- Cargo securing and handling hardware
- Control parts
- Door latches and hinges
- Engine components
- Fluid pump and control components
- Fuel and HVAC systems
- Hydraulic pump housing
- Instrumentation housing
- Communications equipment
- Electric powered engines
- High-velocity blowers
- Marine components
- Nuclear power plants
- Power distribution chassis
- Propulsion systems
There are two basic heat treatments for 356 aluminum: T5 and T6. The simplest heat treatment choice is T5, which allows castings to cool naturally before they are aged at higher temperatures.
The T6 heat treatment is more commonly used than the T5 treatment because it increases mechanical properties and hardness. T6 involves multiple steps, beginning with rapid cooling the parts in a water/glycol quench tank and then heating them to a moderate temperature for several hours followed by an air cool.
Choosing the Correct Alloy
With over 60 different casting alloys and several heat treatment processes available, it can be confusing to know which aluminum alloy is best suited for you. The combination of heat treatments and alloys affect the mechanical properties that are essential for critical functionality.
Barron Industries: Your 356 Aluminum Casting Foundry
If you have questions about 356 aluminum castings, reach out to Barron Industries today. With almost 100 years of metal casting expertise, We’re a global aluminum casting foundry that has custom-manufactured non-ferrous and ferrous precision investment castings, assemblies, fabrications, machined components, and rapid prototypes. We’re also Nadcap™-accredited and hold AS 9100 and ISO 9001 certifications. We understand how challenging it can be to find the right alloys. No matter which industry you’re in, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about aluminum casting alloys. If you would like to request a free quote, call (248) 628-4300 today or fill out our form online.