Heat treatment of aluminum alloy components

Trater regularly works on 1000 alloys (pure/almost pure aluminium), 5000 alloys (aluminium-magnesium: Peraluman), 6000 alloys (aluminium-Silicon and magnesium: Anticorodal), 7000 alloys (aluminium-zinc: Ergal), GAlSi. It can handle any other alloy. Each alloy has its difficulties, which we have learned to face in over 45 years of experience in the sector.

Typically the heat treatments required for aluminum are:

Stress relieving

The stress relieving of aluminum or its alloys produces a reduction in residual stresses to obtain geometric stability. This is not possible for all alloys; when it is, there is a specific temperature to be respected, so as not to produce structural modifications to the material.

Annealing or Homogenization of slabs or billets

Annealing (O), also called homogenization, has the purpose of eliminating any states of work hardening in the material. It consists in heating the material to a certain temperature and at a speed depending on the thickness (so that the same is reached homogeneously even at the core); maintaining it for several hours (even up to 20, depending on the alloy) and then slowly cool the material to ambient temperature. The treatment, especially in the case of high thicknesses, can last up to 5 days. In the end, a completely relieved material is obtained, free from residual tensions due for example to casting. The treatment of the billets instead prepares the material for drawing.

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The “solution” heat treatment has the aim of completely dissolving the crystalline structures present in the alloys (typically those after melting), when unsuitable. It is a preparatory treatment for aging.

Each aluminum alloy requires a specific water temperature for quenching, to avoid cracks. Trater has tanks with water temperature adjustable between 20 and 80°C. The immersion speed is fundamental to limit the geometric deformations of the items and to prevent the precipitation of unwanted phases. Trater has an oven specially designed to treat aluminium, which allows us to quench within 30 seconds from oven’s door opening, which is ideal for light thicknesses. The other possible quenching systems for aluminum in solution, according to the alloy, the thicknesses being treated and the maximum tolerated geometric deformations, are spray quenching and forced air.


Aging, which for some alloys can be natural (T3), for others must be carried out in an oven (T6), has the aim of recombining the elements dissolved in the alloy, to form the most suitable crystalline structures to give the material the best mechanical qualities.

Depending on the alloy, the aging treatment can include phases of artificial aging, carried out at specific temperatures, followed by natural agings, and again by artificial agings at different temperatures, depending on the precipitates desired, in very precise temporal sequences to be respected, to obtain the best performance of the material. A typical treatment of solution, aging and stress relieving of ergal, for example, can last up to 10 days. Only a company with staff 24-hours a day like Trater can guarantee the correct performance of thermal cycles in all phases.
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