Aluminum Alloys and XRF Aluminum Analysis

Aluminum alloys are very light and have good corrosion resistance and electric conductivity. Cu and Mg alloyed grades are tough; Si alloyed grades can easily be cast. Aluminum alloys are used as construction material of aircrafts, sea crafts, car motors, cans, and containers. Aluminum is also used to cast window frames and can be colored to wide range of colors.

Aluminum alloys fall into the category of light metal alloys and are now easily analyzed using a Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) XRF aluminum analyzer. Please contact our experts to understand how handheld XRF can work for your Al application.

Aluminum is the most recycled metal

The scrap types are cans, unalloyed and alloyed plates, crushed casts, chips, and slag. Aluminum scrap sorters use portable XRF analyzers, while aluminum producers and foundries use big stationary laboratory analyzers as well as portable analyzers. Aluminum producers are interested in Mg, Si, Ni, Pb, Bi, Cr, Ti, Sn, V, Be, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Ca, Sr, Sb and P. The scrap is analyzed prior to charging to the furnace. As little as 0.003 % Ca can be detrimental in aluminum processing. P can be either an alloying element or a tramp element. As an alloying element, P is 0.008-0.018 %, Sr is 0.001-0.01% and Sb 0.001-0.01%.


Aluminum alloys are broken into the following series:

  • 1000 Series: essentially pure aluminum with a minimum 99% aluminum content by weight; can be work hardened.
  • 2000 Series: alloyed with copper; can be precipitation hardened to strengths comparable to steel. Formerly referred to as duralumin, they were once the most common aerospace alloys, but were susceptible to stress corrosion cracking and are increasingly replaced by 7000 Series in new designs.
  • 3000 Series: alloyed with manganese; can be work-hardened.
  • 4000 Series: alloyed with silicon; also known as silumin.
  • 5000 Series: alloyed with magnesium; derive most of their strength from solution hardening, and can also be work hardened to strengths comparable to steel.
  • 6000 Series: alloyed with magnesium and silicon, easy to machine, and can be precipitation-hardened, but not to the high strengths that 2000, 5000 and 7000 Series can reach.
  • 7000 Series: alloyed with zinc; can be precipitation hardened to the highest strengths of any aluminum alloy.
  • 8000 Series: miscellaneous category