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Magnesium Vs. Aluminum: How to Choose an Alloy for Your Custom Casting Project

Casting is the process of using molds or other material to shape metal. Like a snowflake, every casting project is different.

Die casting, for example, uses dies made of high-quality steel to create the shape of the metal part. Die casting is one of the most efficient manufacturing processes. It allows you to make hundreds of parts using the same custom dies.

One crucial part of creating a custom casting system is deciding on the best metal. Two of the most common metals are aluminum and magnesium. And they are often used in combination with each other or other metals.

In this article, we’ll take a look at magnesium versus aluminum for your next custom casting project.

Why Choose an Alloy?

When a metal mixes with another metal or element, it forms an alloy. Alloys are stronger than using the pure metals themselves, which is what makes them better for the manufacturing process.

Each alloy has different properties that affect the strength and longevity of the pieces made with it. Alloys need at least one metal to start with. Trace amounts of other metals and elements, such as silicon and copper, are then added.

Let’s take a look at the two most common metal bases for alloys: Aluminum and magnesium.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum is the most common metal used in die casting. It’s lightweight, but still structurally sound. And it’s the cheapest of all the casting metals.

Another great benefit of aluminum is that it is anti-corrosive. This gives your casted parts better longevity. It also has a high melting point which makes it stronger at higher temperatures than other metals, like zinc.

The higher the aluminum levels, the more risk you have of shrinkage or cracking. So it’s often mixed with silicon to allow for more fluidity. Or copper, which makes the alloy harder and stronger.

Magnesium Alloys

With magnesium, it’s weight is the biggest asset. Magnesium is the lightest of all alloys used for casting. It’s often combined with other elements, including aluminum, to create a lighter alloy.

Depending on your project, you may benefit from lower fuel costs by using magnesium parts instead of aluminum. Magnesium also takes less time to solidify after mold injection and is often considered to have better castability than aluminum.

Despite its advantages, magnesium is still not as stable as aluminum. It bends easier under stress. And it’s more expensive than aluminum.

Magnesium Versus Aluminum: The Choice is Yours

When trying to decide between magnesium versus aluminum, the choice is yours. Both metals create alloys that are useful for their respective applications.

Does your project call for stronger parts that won’t corrode over time? Then aluminum might be the best option.

Can you sacrifice some strength to get a lighter component? Then magnesium might work well for your design.

No matter what you decide, the experts at Kor-Pak are here to help you design your project. We want to see our customers succeed with custom fabricated parts. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer you.

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