Every aluminum alloy has its own properties that make it a top choice for a particular application. For use in extreme types of conditions such as salt water exposure or in use in chemicals and chemical processing, aluminum 5083 is often the go-to alloy.
5083 aluminum has several different alloying metals. This includes levels of magnesium at four to just under five percent as well as manganese, silicon, iron, zinc, titanium, chromium and copper.
This combination of alloying ingredients combined with the aluminum provides a final alloy that is very strong and has a high strength to weight ratio, even among the aluminum alloy group. It has the highest strength in any non-heat treated aluminum alloy and does not tend to decrease in strength even after welding, something that can be a concern with other alloys.
Working with the Alloy
As a general guideline, the 5083 aluminum is considered to be easy to work with. Unlike the 2024 and 7075 series, 5083 can be welded with relative ease by someone familiar in working with aluminum. It can be welded using different filler options including 5356, 5556 and 5183. Typically, 5183 is the most recommended filler for any welding of this alloy.
Fabrication processes for 5083 range from excellent to poor. Given the information above it is no surprise that it has an excellent rating for both arc and resistance welding and an average rating for gas welding methods.
It is considered to have average workability with cold processes. It has poor ratings for machinability, brazability and solderability, which will need to be factored in for specific types of fabrication requirements, at least with some products.
To create a better and more machinable product, the MAX5 cast 5083 aluminum has been developed. This has a definite increase in machinability as well as weldability without losing anything in strength or anoziding options for hard anodizing. This is not a suitable option for decorative anodizing.
Keep in mind that MAX5 mold blocks in the aluminum 5083 alloy are highly recyclable and offer higher value for recycling than some of the other alloys. It is also a product that, with precision sawing for cuts, may not require any additional finishing. This can save time and money in the production of molds and other components made from the alloy.
The one consideration with the aluminum 5083 alloy is use in high temperatures. The standard alloy is not recommended for use in environments where temperatures will be over 65° C and MAX5 is not recommended for extended use at over 70°C.