There are some types of aluminum alloys that are considered to be general purpose or all-purpose types of alloys. A good example of that would be 6061 aluminum, which is used in a wide range of different applications.
The same is not true for 2024 aluminum, but it is a top aluminum alloy for use in the aerospace industry because of its properties. This is considered one the best strength to weight ratio aluminum alloys on the market. This means that it is strong and durable, resistant to stress and fatigue while also being very light in weight.
This is an important characteristic in the aerospace and aeronautic industries for obvious reasons. Aircraft and equipment used in space travel need to be both strong as well as lightweight to limit fuel requirements and increase the amount of materials that can be carried aboard.
The one potential drawback to 2024 alloy is the decreased corrosion resistance compared to the other aluminum alloys. To correct this issue, the outside of 2024 can be clad with aluminum or an aluminum zinc combination to add surface protection.
The Basics of Composition
The biggest difference with 2024 aluminum is the higher levels of copper and magnesium by percentage weight within the alloy. Within the composition of the alloy, there is also zinc, chromium, lead, nickel and bismuth as well as silicon. As with all aluminum alloys, most which are made from recycled alloy, there is also a very small amount by percentage weight of other metals.
There are different tempers of 2014 alloy from the O temper which is not heat treated to those tempers that can be solution treated and aged to create the specific mechanical properties desired for different applications and uses.
Working With 2024
The composition of 2024 aluminum makes it highly machinable, although this varies between tempers. It is recommended to machine this alloy at very high speeds. Without experience with the alloy and without precision cutting equipment it can be difficult to cut to tight tolerances.
Generally, 2024 is not welding using arc welding processes. While it can be joined using arc welding methods, it is prone to stress corrosion welding after the process. This often creates a weld that initially looks complete and appears to be solid. Within a short period of time the weld becomes riddled with micro-cracks that will eventually cause weld failure.