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Q - I have recently been involved in the development of aluminum arc welded structures. Having worked with steel structures for many years, aluminum is new to me. How can I identify the aluminum base material strengths, filler alloy strengths and the as-welded joint strengths of aluminum welds. I am also confused by the AWS filler alloy classifications for aluminum. They do not give the filler alloy strength, unlike the classification for steel, which includes the minimum tensile strength of the filler alloy.
The majority of aluminum base alloys can be successfully arc welded without cracking related problems, however, using the most appropriate filler alloy and conducting the welding operation with an appropriately developed and tested welding procedure is significant to success.
I have been informed that pure aluminum is not usually used for structural applications and that in order to produce aluminum that is of adequate strength for the manufacture of structural components, it is necessary to add other elements to the aluminum. What elements are added to these aluminum alloys? What affect do they have on the material’s performance? And in what applications are these alloys used?