Cast aluminum alloys are important for various government and military uses. An aluminum alloy is a material created by combining specific elements with pure aluminum to enhance its properties, primarily to increase strength. These elements include copper, silicon, manganese, iron, magnesium and zinc at levels that sometimes consist of almost 15 percent of the alloy’s weight. When the aluminum is in molten form, it is combined with these other elements to produce a metal ready for manufacturing. From armor to vehicles to artillery, aluminum alloys are a staple component in most military equipment.
Metals that fall into a military-grade category have their own unique set of specifications they must meet for classification. These specs make the process uniform when different manufacturers construct the same military or government part. Metal castings for government use are often stronger than most other metals.
Some of the most popular uses of cast aluminum in the military include:
- Armor: Aluminum is easily weldable, so it is perfect for almost any body armor component. Military vehicles frequently use 5000-series aluminum for an extra shell of armor protection. Heat treatment can enhance 7000-series aluminum alloys to make them more versatile and robust.
- Vehicles: Aluminum parts in military vehicles have increased in recent years. Aluminum construction is lighter than other materials, making these vehicles easier to transport over long distances, as well as more mobile, fuel-efficient and lightweight.
- Artillery: Besides streamlining the manufacturing process, aluminum compositions produce lighter weapons, making transportation easier for soldiers. Several examples of aluminum-based artillery include mines, torpedos and rocket launchers. The M-60 machine gun consists of various aluminum components.
Bullet Casting Alloys
The military also uses cast aluminum services for bullets. The most common type of small-arm military ammunition in the U.S. is called “ball ammo.” These bullets often consist of a lead or steel alloy core surrounded by a jacket containing an alloy. A popular name for this structure is a “full metal jacket.”
A conventional 20 millimeter round uses an aluminum nosepiece. Military-grade ammo functions at higher pressures than standard ammunition and is usually longer in structure to enhance performance.
Benefits of Cast Metal in Military and Government Applications
There are several advantages of cast aluminum that can help the military and government industries, including:
- Corrosion-resistant: Aluminum is immune to rust, which adds to the shelf life of many aluminum-alloy parts. This feature also allows military-grade aluminum to be more durable in adverse weather conditions.
- Lightweight: Components made from aluminum are also higher-performing. Military vehicles with aluminum elements can haul more weight at improved efficiencies.
- Strength-tested: Depending on the type of processing and the alloy, aluminum can be just as strong — if not stronger — than some steel. This material is also effective in crash energy absorption, providing an extra level of protection to drivers and passengers.
Choosing Warner Brothers Foundry Company for Your Aluminum Casting Needs
At Warner Brothers Foundry Company, our knowledgeable and experienced team can offer advice for all your cast metal requirements. Whether your application needs an aluminum, bronze, brass or copper alloy, we promise to provide you with a high-quality product. To learn more about what we do, contact us today.