What Metals Are Used in Metal Spinning?
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Metal spinning is a unique forming process used to produce axially symmetric components for a wide variety of industries. This process begins with a pre-sized metal disk clamped against a tool and rotated at high speeds. Force is then applied to the metal disk, via various spinning tools, until the desired shape is achieved, but can any metal be used for your project?
We’ve previously walked through our 7 Design Tips for Your Metal Spinning Project and today we are taking a more in-depth look at what materials are common and not so common at Excell along with their uses, properties, and what industries rely on these materials.
Appearance: Aluminium is a silvery-white
Uses and Properties: Aluminium is a light metal, about a third of the weight of steel. It is ductile, malleable, and has a low density. Although it is a lighter material, aluminium offers a good strength to weight ratio compared to common steel alloys.
Aluminium naturally creates a protective oxide coating protecting the metal from corrosion. This is particularly useful where the metal is exposed to corroding agents, such as in the kitchen and in vehicles.
This material is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Cheaper than copper and almost twice as good a conductor, aluminium can take on and drain away heat rapidly. It is also a good reflector of light and heat making it excellent for cool roofs and internal solar heat within a home.
Industries: Aerospace, Automotive, Construction, Energy, Medical, Engineering, Catering
Before dipping into the world of steel it’s important to understand the four types of steel.
First, we have carbon steel which is an alloy made of iron and carbon. There are three subgroups depending on how much carbon is in the metal. Low-carbon steels contain up to 0.3% of carbon, medium-carbon steels can contain 0.3-0.6%, with high-carbon steels containing more than 0.6% carbon. The varying carbon levels are what affect the properties of each subgroup.
Alloy steels are created by adding additional alloying elements like nickel, copper, chromium, and/or aluminium. Adding these elements can enhance the steel’s strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, and machinability.
Stainless Steels contain 10-20% chromium as well as other elements. These steels have remarkably high corrosion resistance and can withstand rough weather.
Tool steels, as they sound, are commonly used in cutting and drilling equipment as they retain their shape under heavy usage. They commonly contain tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, and vanadium which increase their heat resistance and durability.
Appearance: Steel is typically a dull, matte grey
Uses and Properties: Steel has a carbon range of 0.6% or higher making it a high-carbon and is often used for manufacturing and construction. Steel is a hard material able to withstand friction and abrasion. Steel is less malleable and harder than mild steel, and it can absorb energy without fracturing or rupturing.
Steel is another ductile material that can be stretched or pressed before breaking, depending on thickness steel may need to be annealed before taking shape. Annealing is a heat treatment process used to increase the ductility and reduce the hardness of the material making it easier to shape without breaking.
Unlike aluminium and stainless steel, steel is susceptible to corrosion. Steel can be galvanised to strengthen the outer layers and add corrosive protection. See galvanised steel below for further information.
Industries: Automotive, Construction, Defence, Marine, Medical, Energy, Agriculture, Oil and Gas
Appearance: Greyish white surface
Uses and Properties: Mild steel generally contains carbon in the range of 0.05% to 0.25% making it low-carbon steel. It is more ductile, machinable, and weldable than high carbon and other steels.
Mild steel has a lower tensile strength than steel but can be further strengthened with the addition of carbon. Mild steel is not corrosion-resistant but can be painted or galvanised to prevent rust.
Industries: Construction, Automobile, Manufacturing, Furniture
Appearance: Uniform matte grey appearance
Uses and Properties: Galvanised steel is produced by coating the steel in zinc making them corrosion resistant as well as providing a harder surface. As galvanized steel is simply steel with a zinc coating it is still high-carbon steel making it hard and strong with low ductility and malleability.
Galvanised steel can still be formed with the zinc coating as it is resistant to cracking and loss of adhesion. It is extremely durable and resistant to scratches and abrasion.
Industries: HVAC, Automotive, Oil and Gas, Agriculture, Road Construction
Appearance: Lustrous bright appearance
Uses and Properties: Type 304 is the most versatile and widely used stainless steel. Containing 18% chromium and 8% nickel, type 304 proves to be resistant to oxidation, corrosion, and durable. Type 304 is sought after for its ability to withstand the elements while keeping electrical material out of harm’s way.
Stainless steels are easy to fabricate, clean, and weld making them best suited for electrical enclosures, auto moulding and trim, kitchen equipment, and more. Stainless steel offers long term value as it is inexpensive compared to its life cycle.
Industries: Healthcare, Culinary, Electrical, Architecture
Appearance: Lustrous bright appearance with no visible difference to 304 Stainless Steel. To confirm the difference testing such as a material test report (MTR) can verify it as being 304 or 316.
Uses and Properties: Type 316 contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. The addition of molybdenum increases the corrosion resistance compared to type 304; this increases the ability to withstand harsh environments.
Type 316 is durable and as all stainless steel is easy to fabricate, clean, and weld. At the end of the day, type 316 costs more upfront but if you are looking for higher corrosion resistance to life span you will save in the long run.
Industries: Pharmaceutical, Marine, Construction, Chemical equipment
Appearance: Copper is a reddish-gold metal
Uses and Properties: Copper is highly resistant to corrosion. Although it may seem your copper is corroding when you find a green film forming on the surface, this is patina, a protective layer that prevents the metal from deteriorating. Copper is used on hulls of ships because it does not corrode and reduces the adhesion of sea life.
Copper is antimicrobial meaning it can kill or slow the spread of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This metal is malleable and ductile making it easy to work with when fabricating and joining. It is a tough metal that doesn’t shatter or become brittle when exposed to temperatures below 0°C. Copper conducts heat and electricity extremely well which is why it’s often used for electrical wiring.
Industries: Marine, Energy, Plumbing, Manufacturing, Automotive, Roofing
Appearance: Brass often has a bright gold appearance but can be reddish-gold or silvery-white depending on the percentage of copper and zinc within
Uses and Properties: Brass is an alloy made primarily of copper and zinc; proportions may vary creating a range of brass with a variety of properties. Due to the variation in the alloy, brass properties are not universal, but these alloys are known for their machinability while retaining high strength even after forming. Brass is known for being ductile, corrosion-resistant, and antimicrobial, like copper. Brass offers desirable acoustic properties mainly sought after in musical instruments.
Industries: Lighting, Decorative, Music, Automotive
Appearance: Titanium has a lustrous grey-whitish appearance
Uses and Properties: Titanium’s most useful property is its high tensile strength to density ratio. Titanium is 45% lighter than steel and just as strong. It is twice as strong as aluminium and 60% denser. This material is able to withstand extremes of temperature, however, it can lose its strength at temperatures greater than 430°C.
Titanium reacts with oxygen naturally creating an oxide film making it a corrosion-resistant metal. It’s corrosion-resistant against chlorine compounds, seawater, common acids, and extreme temperatures. This metal has very low electrical and thermal conductivity.
Industries: Aerospace, Defence, Energy, Marine, Medical, Manufacturing
Appearance: A silver metal resembling stainless steel with the weight of aluminium
Uses and Properties: Inconel, like titanium, has an oxide film giving protection from corrosion. It is used for its high tensile strength and high corrosion-fatigue strength making it ideal for submarines, propeller blades, and oceanographic instrument components.
Inconel 625 can also withstand a wide range of temperatures and pressure which is why we see it used heavily in the chemical processing field. This metal was designed to have better weldability with no signs of cracking when exposed to strain and temperature changes post-welding.
Industries: Marine, Engineering, Oil and Gas extraction, Automobile, Aerospace, Nuclear, Industrial, Chemical Processing
Appearance: Grey with a metallic lustre
Uses and Properties: Monel is a name for a group of alloys made primarily of nickel and copper. It is known for being highly resistant to corrosion and acids. With a higher tensile strength than steel Monel remains quite malleable allowing for easier fabrication. This is easy to weld, braze, and solder material.
While Monel is very useful, it can cost five to ten times as much as copper. This material is rarely used when other metals can complete the job. It is used for jobs that require sub-zero temperatures it is one of the few alloys that maintain their strength.
Industries: Chemical, Marine, Aerospace, Chemical Processing, Engineering
Appearance: Like Monel, Hastelloy is a grey with a metallic lustre
Uses and Properties: Hastelloy is a nickel alloy that contains other chemical elements such as chromium and molybdenum. This material has high-temperature resistance and is known as a “superalloy” for its exceptional corrosion resistance. Although it’s known for its corrosion resistance, this materials largest weakness is oxidizing environments. Its low silicon content makes it suitable for welding.
Industries: Oil and Gas, Chemical processing, Waste Treatment, Marine, Mining
At first glance these materials may look similar, but as you can see each offers its own characteristics and performance enhancements. It is important that your projects application and needs are assessed before choosing a material to ensure the best outcome, this can be done by collaborating with your metal spinners.
At Excell, our team is ready to help you choose the right materials and tooling for your project for your production parts. We will be able to make recommendations to maximize both quality and your cost savings.
As a leading expert in the field of Metal Spinning, and the leading organization in the UK Metal Spinning Industry, Excell’s services have been widely sought after worldwide. With the vast skills and knowledge required, we can ensure quality products are delivered on time and to your requirements!
To get started on your next project with us, and to determine the best possible solution for your industry needs, you can fill out a Quotation Form. Our team are on hand ready to help you!
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