Aluminum alloy is a metallic material made from a combination of aluminum and another element, although aluminum remains the primary component. Silver in color, aluminum is a lightweight element that is ductile and resistant to corrosion. There are a large number of aluminum alloys that may be made from various combinations of elements.
Aluminum alloys are produced by alloy suppliers much like other popular alloys are produced. They can be wrought or cast into their new chemical make-up. Alloy castings involve melting down the aluminum and then whatever other substance, be it magnesium, silicon, iron or lithium is going to be mixed in with it to produce the alloy. Then the die-casting process mixes the substances creating the new, as well as giving the aluminum alloy a shape as it cools in the die-casting. Magnesium alloys are produced in this fashion as well. Wrought aluminum is also melted, although not to the extreme stage required by casting, and it is also hammered and pressed before it hardens, ensuring a smooth and uniform mixture. Wrought alloys have greater strength and ductility then cast alloys. Aesthetically, aluminum alloys are preferred by some industries because their surface remains shiny in a dry environment due to the formation of a clear, protective layer of aluminum oxide that develops during the casting or wrought process.