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The Properties, Industrial Applications, and Pros & Cons of Common Sheet Metal Bending Materials

Several types of metal exist, but only a handful have specific properties that support sheet metal bending. Ductility, malleability, and stretchability are some of these properties. All metal parts are engineered from these metals. This article explores various aspects of these metals to help you understand them better.

The Common Sheet Metal Bending Materials

Copper, bronze, stainless steel, steel, and aluminum are common metals used for sheet metal bending. Each metal has different properties, but they all share similar properties that support their bendability.

1.Aluminum

Most manufacturers used aluminum as the primary metal in this fabrication process. This metal’s features, such as low density, support its use across several industries. Aluminum is also the most malleable metal, making it easy to shape into intricate bends.

Aluminum properties

Some of the major properties of aluminum include;

  • High corrosion resistance 
  • High thermal conductivity
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Low toxicity
  • Excellent ductility and malleability

Pros and cons of aluminum

Advantages of aluminumDisadvantages of aluminum
Lightweight material  Lower strength 
Available in large quantities Not suitable for certain applications
Ability to be recycledProne to denting
Low cost 
Highly durable  

Industrial applications

Aluminum is the most common metal used in almost all industries. Most of the uses revolve around automatic and aerospace industries to make parts and components. Other applications include construction, kitchenware, and transport industries.

2.Copper

Copper is another common sheet metal bending material that exists in large quantities. Like aluminum, copper exhibits properties such as high ductility and malleability, making it reliable for bending processes. It also has a characteristic reddish-brown color that makes it useful in specific applications.

Properties of copper

Copper has several properties and characteristics, including;

  • Good corrosion resistance
  • Excellent electrical and heat conductivity 
  • Excellent machinability 
  • Highly ductile and malleable

Pros and cons of copper

Advantages of copper Disadvantages of Copper
Strong and durable Expensive than aluminum 
It’s toxins-freeProne to oxidation and tanning 
It’s recyclable Dense than aluminum 
 Cannot tolerate high-stress

Industrial applications

Industrial applications

Due to its electrical conductivity, copper is highly used in electrical appliances. It is used to make heat exchangers, transformers, radiators, etc. Copper can be used to create a part or an entire component.

3.Bronze

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. The combination of the properties of these two metals gives bronze a unique set of properties. For instance, it has superior resistance to wear compared to other metals. This makes it an excellent choice for sheet metal bending materials for various applications.

Properties of bronze

When highlighting the properties of bronze, the properties of the metals that make up bronze are not singled out. 

  • Fatigue resistance
  • Low friction
  • High melting point
  • High tensile strength 
  • Resistant to corrosion

Pros and cons of bronze

Advantages of bronze Disadvantages of bronze  
Sustainable Expensive 
Good surface finishTakes time to produce
Anti-microbial Limited machinability 
Weather resistant  

Industrial applications

Metals that exhibit properties such as low metal-to-metal friction and resistance to fatigue, such as bronze, are used in environments with harsh conditions. Bronze is highly used in marine environments.

4.Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and carbon engineered for specific applications. Unlike other types of metals, it is widely known for its ability to resist rust, making it suitable for several applications, particularly in wet conditions.

Properties of Stainless Steel

Some of the properties of this metal alloy include;

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Poor thermal conductivity
  • Resistant to surface deformation 
  • High tensile strength 
  • Low-maintenance 
  • Non-magnetic

Pros and cons of Stainless Steel

Advantages of Stainless SteelDisadvantages of Stainless Steel
Low-cost material Difficult to weld
Versatile applications Cannot resist some chemicals
Easy to form and fabricate Requires special tools
Highly durable  

Industrial applications

Some of the common industries that use stainless steel include food and beverage. It is used in this industry due to its resistance to corrosion and rust. Stainless steel is also used in the medical, automotive, and construction industries.

5.Steel

Steel is also an alloy of iron and carbon. It has better properties than stainless steel, which makes it more reliable for sheet metal bending. Still, there are areas where stainless steel outshines steel. 

Properties of Steel

The following are the common properties of steel.

  • High impact strength 
  • Magnetic 
  • Good malleability 
  • High tensile strength 
  • Non-combustible

Pros and cons of Steel

Advantages of SteelDisadvantages of Steel
Can undergo cold-forming Prone to rusting
Has many grades Denser than stainless steel 
Its properties can be improved Not easy to bend
Highly sustainable  

Industrial applications

Steel is used in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and medicine. These industries require durable metals with properties exhibited by steel. It is used to make parts, tools, and gear used in these industries.

6.Titanium

Titanium

To get titanium metal, several metals are alloyed. Iron, molybdenum, nickel, and aluminum are the most common metals used to make titanium. It is a lightweight but quite versatile metal alloy used as a sheet metal bending material.

Properties of Titanium

Here are some common properties of titanium;

  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Strong metal
  • Low density
  • Poor heat and electricity conductor 
  • Prone to oxidation 

Pros and cons of Titanium

Advantages of TitaniumDisadvantages of Titanium
Excellent biocompatibility Quite expensive 
Good mechanical properties Not suitable in high-temp environments
Low toxicity Limited machinability 

Industrial applications

Medicine is among the major consumers of titanium. This metal is used in medical fields to manufacture bio parts such as orthopedic and dental inserts. It is used in these industries because of its low toxicity and high biocompatibility.

Conclusion

Sheet metal bending requires materials that exhibit specific mechanical and chemical properties. Primarily, the metals discussed in this article are used because they are naturally malleable and ductile.  Contact us to learn more about our sheet metal bending processes.

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