What are Aluminium Flat Bars/Strips?

Aluminium flat bars/strips are long and narrow pieces of aluminium with a rectangular cross-section. They have consistent thickness from top to bottom and are available in various sizes. They are also produced in both metric and imperial sizes. Flat bars/strips can be made from pure aluminium or different aluminium alloys, depending on the specific needs of an application.

Properties of Aluminium Flat Bar

  • Lightweight: Aluminium has a density of 2.7 g/cm3 which is approximately one-third of the density of steel. This makes aluminium flat bar ideal for applications where weight is a concern, such as in the automotive and aerospace industries.
  • High Strength-to-weight ratio: Despite its lightweight nature, aluminium has a high strength-to-weight ratio which means it can bear heavy loads without compromising its structural integrity. This property makes it suitable for use in structures such as bridges and buildings.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Unlike other metals, aluminium has a natural oxide layer that forms on its surface when exposed to air. This layer acts as a protective barrier against corrosion, making it ideal for outdoor applications and in harsh environments.
  • Conductivity: Aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, making it suitable for use in electrical components and heat exchangers.
  • Malleability and Ductility: Aluminium is highly malleable and ductile, meaning it can be easily formed into various shapes without breaking or cracking. This makes it a versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications.

Working with Aluminium Flat Bar

  • Cutting: Aluminium flat bar can be easily cut using a hacksaw or power saw with a carbide-tipped blade. It is important to use the appropriate cutting tools and techniques to avoid damaging the material.
  • Bending: Aluminium flat bar can be bent using a bending machine or by heating the material and shaping it to the desired angle. Care must be taken during the bending process to avoid causing cracks or fractures in the metal.
  • Welding: Aluminium flat bar can be welded using various methods such as TIG, MIG, and arc welding. It is important to clean the surface of the bar properly before welding to ensure a strong and clean weld.
  • Drilling: Aluminium flat bar can be drilled using standard metal drill bits. It is important to use a lubricant during drilling to prevent the bit from overheating and causing damage to the material.
  • Finishing: Depending on the application, aluminium flat bar may require finishing such as anodizing or powder coating for added durability and corrosion resistance.
  • Safety: As with any metalworking process, it is important to take safety precautions when working with aluminium flat bar. This includes wearing appropriate protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a dust mask to avoid inhaling aluminium particles.

When working with aluminium flat bar, it is important to follow proper safety precautions and guidelines. Here are some tips for handling and working with aluminium flat bar:

  • Wear protective gear: When cutting or shaping aluminium flat bar, it is important to wear protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses to prevent any injuries.
  • Use appropriate tools: Aluminium flat bar can be easily manipulated using standard woodworking tools. However, it is important to use appropriate tools such as a carbide blade for cutting and a file for smoothing rough edges.
  • Avoid excessive heat: Excessive heat can cause aluminium flat bar to warp or deform, so it is important to avoid using high-heat methods such as welding. Instead, opt for methods such as riveting or adhesive bonding.
  • Clean and maintain regularly: To ensure the longevity of aluminium flat bar, it is important to clean and maintain it regularly. This includes removing any dirt or debris and inspecting for any signs of corrosion.

Applications of Aluminium Flat Bar

Aluminium flat bar has a wide range of applications due to its properties and versatility. It is commonly used in industries such as construction, automotive, aerospace, and marine.

Applications of Aluminium Flat Bar

  • Construction: Aluminium flat bar is widely used in the construction industry for various purposes such as framing, roofing, and support beams. Its lightweight yet strong characteristics make it a preferred choice for building structures.
  • Automotive: Aluminium flat bar is also commonly used in the automotive industry for parts such as body panels, engine components, and chassis reinforcements. Its lightweight property helps improve fuel efficiency and overall performance of vehicles.
  • Aerospace: The aerospace industry also utilizes aluminium flat bar for various components in aircraft construction. Its high strength-to-weight ratio makes it an ideal material for building lightweight yet durable aircraft structures.
  • Marine: Due to its corrosion resistance property, aluminium flat bar is commonly used in marine applications such as boat building and shipbuilding. It can withstand exposure to saltwater and harsh environments without corroding.

Advantages of Aluminium Flat Bar

  • Lightweight: One of the biggest advantages of aluminium flat bar is its lightweight nature. This makes it easy to handle during transportation, installation, and maintenance.
  • High strength-to-weight ratio: Despite its lightweight, aluminium flat bar has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it stronger than other materials such as steel when compared by weight.
  • Corrosion resistance: Aluminium naturally forms a protective oxide layer on its surface, making it resistant to corrosion. This makes it suitable for outdoor applications and in harsh environments.
  • Versatility: Aluminium flat bar can be easily manipulated and shaped to fit various design requirements, making it a versatile material for construction purposes.
  • Cost-effective: Due to its lightweight nature, aluminium flat bar requires less labor and resources for transportation, installation, and maintenance. This makes it a cost-effective option compared to other materials such as steel.

Aluminium UK Flat Bar Grades

There are two main grades of Aluminium Flat bars available in the UK, 6082T6 and 6063T6. As a very rough guide, 6082T6 is used for higher strength applications and for that reason is normally available in larger sizes. The smaller size flat bars are generally produced in 6063T6 grade where bending or aesthetic qualities are more important than strength.

6082T6 Aluminium Flat Bar

Aluminium flat bars are widely used in various industries due to their lightweight, high strength, and excellent corrosion resistance. Among the different types of aluminium alloys available, the 6082T6 alloy is considered one of the most versatile and widely used.

Mechanical Properties

The 6082T6 aluminium alloy offers exceptional mechanical properties, making it suitable for a variety of applications. It has a tensile strength of 310 MPa and a yield strength of 275 MPa, making it stronger than many other aluminium alloys. Additionally, it has good fatigue resistance and can withstand high stress environments.

Chemical Properties

The chemical composition of the 6082T6 alloy is what gives it its unique properties. It is composed of approximately 0.7% silicon, 1.0-1.5% magnesium, and small amounts of manganese, chromium, and iron. This combination results in a highly corrosion-resistant alloy with excellent weldability and formability.

6063T6 Aluminium Flat Bar

6063T6 aluminium flat bar is a type of aluminium alloy that is widely used in various industries due to its excellent mechanical and chemical properties. It belongs to the 6000 series of aluminium alloys, which are known for their high strength and corrosion resistance.

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of 6063T6 aluminium flat bar make it a popular choice for applications that require strength, durability, and good formability. It has a tensile strength of 186 MPa, yield strength of 145 MPa, and an elongation of 10%. This makes it suitable for use in structural and architectural applications, such as window frames, door frames, and furniture components.

Chemical Properties

The chemical composition of 6063T6 aluminium flat bar is primarily composed of aluminium with small amounts of other elements such as silicon, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, and chromium. The addition of these elements enhances the properties of the alloy, making it more resistant to corrosion and improving its ability to be formed and welded.

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Ross Goodwin

Ross Goodwin is a Managing Director at Aluminium Warehouse, the first online supplier of metal products in the UK, founded in 2005. Before taking on the mantle of Managing Director in 2007, he looked after all financial aspects of the company in his role of Financial Director. Ross has extensive knowledge of the metal industry and over recent years has honed his expertise in online selling, growth strategies and overseeing all marketing activities. He attended Leeds University gaining a B.A. Hons degree in Business Administration & Economics. Besides being a self-confessed workaholic, he enjoys travelling, cycling and open water swimming and is soon to compete in his first triathlon.
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