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Aluminium cycle: Machining, Briquetting, Melting

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Aluminium’s recycling cycle begins and ends in melting plants. In between, this light metal is machined in many different industrial operations of diverse branches and ideally is then pressed into a compact briquette using a briquetting system from RUF. But where exactly are chips produced and why does briquetting usually make economic sense? Aluminium chips are produced throughout the entire product creation process; during the surface treatment of cast bolts and rolling ingots, during profile, plate and sheet production as well as the machining of components. Depending on whether they are produced by milling, turning, grinding or sawing, the chips, which are often wet, vary in form and properties; wool-like, spiral, rough, fine etc. What they all have in common is: they will be re-melted, whether in a Remelter or a Refiner. This phase describes both: The end and the new beginning of the eternal Aluminium-Recycling-Cycle. Within this cycle, four branches, above all, are concerned with the importance of handling of aluminium chips: Rolling mills, Stamping/pressing plants, Machining companies and Melting works. B02_Ruf_Study-Briquetting Aluminium briquettes achieve up to seven per cent more yield than loose chips But what are the key considerations in detail? Loose chips have a large volume at low weight; so they display low bulk weight, typically lying between 140 to 250 kg/m3. This effects significant costs for storage as well as transport, both internally and externally. In order to react against this, the chips must be pressed. This is where the applied technology is of high importance. RUF’s machines can compress to a level of 2,200 to 2,400 kg/m3 (and in individual cases these figures may be exceeded) when required. As a comparison: the density of solid aluminium lies, on average, at 2,700 kg/m3. Briquetting in Rolling mills Chips are created in Rolling mills through the milling off of the casting surface. So-called edge trimming shavings are also created during the machining of sheets, coils or foils. Briquetting applies for either form. When the company has an affiliated melting works, the pressed aluminium will be conveyed directly there (highest added value). Otherwise they will be stored and sold on the scrap market. On account of the high density when compared to loose chips, storage and transport costs are reduced by the use of briquettes. Furthermore, briquettes achieve higher sales revenue because they are better suited to the melting process. B01_Ruf_Study-Briquetting RUF Maschinenbau delivers tailor-made briquetting solutions for all areas of application – Rolling mills, Extruders, Machining companies as well as Remelters resp. Refiners. Benefits in brief: reduced storage and transport costs, reduced operating costs through in-house recycling, and alternative sales revenues optimized. About 130 RUF briquetting systems are in operation, worldwide. Briquetting in pressing plants Pressing plants produce chips primarily through reprofiling and sawing of casted round bolts as well as finished extruded sections. As very few of these types of companies are affiliated with a melting works, storage and transport costs are extra significant. Another factor above all in achieving higher sales revenues is that Stamping/pressing plants dispose of single origin chips with a clearly defined composition. This means they can be used as alloying additions during the melting process, which is very much in-demand in the melting plants as it means they have to purchase less, very expensive, alloying elements and aggregates. B03_Ruf_Study Briquetting The melting process is both the end and the new beginning of the eternal Aluminium-Recycling-Loop. In between lies the machining of the materials and the briquetting of the chips. Benefits in brief: reduced storage and transport costs, sales revenues optimized, and optimised remelting. About 180 RUF briquetting systems are in operation, worldwide. Briquetting in machining companies Machining companies are to be found in many branches like e.g. in the Automobile industry, Aerospace and Mechanical engineering. Handling chips is daily business for these companies, and it has the association of a “waste product” of machining. The advantages of briquetting regarding storage and transport costs also exist here, just like the optimisation of sales revenues, because of the volume reduction of the chips after briquetting by a factor of between six and twenty. Furthermore, there is another important factor in this area of application: the recovery of cooling lubricants, emulsions or oil. B05_Ruf_Study_Briquetting RUF’s systems are equipped with an integrated catchment device for fluids. This ensures that your storage area remains clean, which is very much in alignment with orderly production processes and environmental protection in practice. Personnel costs are reduced and work safety levels are increased when the machine works automatically and only the conveyance of chips or briquettes requires service personnel. Benefits in brief: reduced storage and transport costs, recovery of emulsion, sales revenues optimised, and work safety and environmental protection. About 850 RUF briquetting systems are in operation, worldwide. Briquetting with Remelters and Refiners Remelters and Refiners are smelters, which are differentiated by e.g. the products they manufacture. Remelters mostly produce wrought alloys as wire, bolts and rolling ingots. Refiners produce casting alloys in the form of ingots. Both utilise chips, amongst others. The difference between using loose chips or briquetted aluminium for remelting is, in both cases, significant. Because under the effect of flames, the light material burns-off very quickly instead of melting. And as the relation between surface area and density is particularly big with chips, a lot of material is lost through this burn-off. Moreover, the large exposed aluminium surface area of the chips mean a high tendency to oxide formation. This leads to further losses in the melting furnace in the form of dross. A further problem factor in the melting of aluminium: when the liquid metal comes into direct contact with other liquids such as cooling lubricants, an almost explosive reaction takes place. Therefore, the factor of residual moisture is important. B04_Ruf_Study Briquetting Four application branches in particular benefit from numerous benefits when aluminium chips are briquetted: Melting works, Stamping/pressing plants, Rolling mills and machining companies. Loose chips often have a moisture content of 20 per cent and more. If they are not briquetted, the chips must go through a centrifuge and further drying systems in order to remove the residual moisture. In contrast briquetting is significantly more economically effective, especially when high quality systems are used. An appropriately high pressing power reduces the moisture content down to between three and five per cent. If the briquettes are subsequently stored in a dry place this reduces to values fewer than two per cent. And the briquettes can be safely and efficiently melted. Benefits in brief: reduced storage costs, higher safety levels, Product quality, efficiency and metal yield increased, reduction in plant investment, sales revenues optimised. Additional benefits for Refiners: no resp. reduced salt application, ancillary costs reduced. About 130 RUF briquetting systems are in operation, worldwide Smelters requirements Because of burn-off and oxidation, loose chips cannot be used in some melting furnaces or only after very cost intensive treatment. The melting process of loose chips in a rotary drum furnace requires the addition of salt. The inherent problem here is: the left over salt slag has to be disposed of or undergo re-treatment, which is very expensive. Hearth type melting furnaces can also be equipped with so-called Vortex-installations, which can be operated with electromagnetic or mechanical pumps. This leads to the chips being stirred into the molten mass. This functions pretty well, but it requires a lot of effort. And apart from the purchase costs, the installation needs space, regular maintenance and there are also extra personnel and operating costs involved, particularly due to the high wear factor. Two to seven per cent more yield from the melting process Independent of which furnace technology is implemented, the melting process functions at its best with highly compressed briquettes. What is decisive is the density of the briquettes, which lies between 2,200 and 2,400 kg/m3. The density of liquid aluminium is, on average, around 2.350 kg/m3, depending on the alloy. Therefore the briquettes hardly float at all, which means burn-off and oxide formation are reduced to the minimum. This is the reason why Refiners generally report a yield at least two per cent higher. Some have confirmed five to seven per cent more metal yield. Adapted briquetting technology from RUF Whether Rolling mill, pressing plant, Machining company or smelters; what is decisive is always using a needs based, high quality briquetting system. RUF has an appropriately large range of systems with customised automation and further accessories. Moreover, the numerous users of RUF systems confirm the high level of robustness, reduced maintenance costs as well as reliable service. This means ROI is achieved often within one or two years. As a leading innovator, the Bavarian company invests regularly in the optimisation of its systems and cooperates with research institutions and universities. Furthermore, RUF works intensively together with their customers. RUF offers the companies the opportunity to test the briquetting of their own chips in in-house test systems and/or they rent them briquetting machines. This is a basis for RUF engineers to optimise system solutions for individual cases and it is a way of introducing new areas of application. ALCIRCLE more

5 CAD Modeling Best Practices You Can't Live Without

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CAD Modeling is both an art and a skill. Over multiple projects, industries, and years, certain techniques emerge as being critical to success. We commonly refer to these as best practices. Let’s look at a few that are essential to product development.  Keep Your Ideas Organized Both new product introduction (NPI) and sustained engineering demand “what if” work. During the former, you iterate different design concepts; during the latter, you implement change as part of a correction or improvement. This leads to multiple “what if” scenarios as you save models into new files, to preserve the original designs, and to perform work on unconnected copies. From past and current experience, I can tell you that the typical "Save As" process doesn’t work when you’re trying to choose which path to take and have to incorporate the solution into the original models. This can mean Copy and Paste or at worst, redoing the work entirely. Keep your design concepts within your CAD package, so that they’re easy to retrieve and update in one place. Practice Top-Down Design Products today are more complex than ever. They often include aesthetic housings, electromechanical components, user interfaces, internet connections, cable harnesses, sensors, and more. A top-down approach provides leaders with the ability to control product design and distribute information to teams and engineers. This in turn provides engineers and designers with the speed and flexibility to develop creative solutions in their areas. Most importantly, top-down enables you to promote reuse of design data and implement significant changes faster and easier than more basic bottom-up approaches. Explore New Technologies We’re living in an exciting time for product development with the introduction and development of technologies like Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, Topology Optimization, Generative Design, and more. Investigating and adopting these tools can provide you significant savings and possibly a competitive advantage. For example, when I was at Amazon, we were spending a fortune and losing time on sending designs to external prototype shops. I could spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars a week in expedited shipping costs. Sadly, the prototype would sometimes be irrelevant by the time it arrived. By adopting Additive Manufacturing into our design process, I could have a prototype in hours instead of days, and iterate a design twice a day instead of twice a week. Augmented reality (AR) superimposes your product onto the real world with the ability to provide supplemental information like process steps, sensor readings, and other operational feedback. AR can be used for reviews, virtual prototyping, and manufacturing process planning. AR also differentiates you from the rest of the market when you incorporate it into the product, as advertising and/or the human interface. An augmented reality experience layers information on top of a real-world scene. These are just a couple examples of benefits from new technologies. Imagine how other emerging trends can tip the scales in your favor. Get Performance Feedback as You Design Speaking of new technologies, you should know that tools now exist that can evaluate the performance of your design in your CAD system as you work. Yes, real-time simulation. Will moving a hole over two centimeters compromise your model's ability to withstand a known load? What if you moved it just one centimeter? What if you tried a different material? In the past, you might have sent the model to simulation experts to find answers to these questions--and then waited. Maybe for days, maybe for weeks. Now you get answers in real time, without all the detailed setup you’d expect from a full-blown simulation tool. So, it's easier to try out different ideas and optimize your model. That saves everybody time, while helping you design the best models possible. An engineer redesigns a guitar effects pedal using feedback from Creo Simulation Live. Don’t Rely on File Systems Maybe you manage your CAD files on network shared folders. Maybe you don’t have that many users, or your products don’t have many components. Even if you think your products aren’t complicated, your processes are. A product lifecycle management (PLM) system not only vaults your CAD models, but also helps with: Configuration Management: know exactly what goes into your products. Change Management: control and track how you make improvements to your designs. Visualization: Enable everyone across your enterprise - planning, procurement, inventory, manufacturing, sales, and marketing – to see what your models and drawings look like using a web browser. These five best practices for CAD will help you improve quality and productivity while lowering errors, cost, and time-to-market. Which of these do you follow? PTC more

5 Types of Hydraulic Cylinder

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Hydraulic cylinders are an essential component of the hydraulic industry. Almost all the applications use a hydraulic cylinder for converting incompressible hydraulic fluid energy to work. So, having adequate knowledge of this topic will be a great benefit. This article provides you, all the essential information like types, applications, and specifications of hydraulic cylinders. A hydraulic cylinder is a linear actuator used for creating a mechanical force in a straight line either through pushing or pulling. A tube, a piston and ram, two end caps, and suitable oil seals are the basic components required for hydraulic cylinder construction. The tube will be having finished interior and hard chrome-plated piston rods are commonly used for avoiding pitting and scoring. Seals and wipers are attached on the end caps for eliminating contaminants and preventing leakages. Mobile applications such as excavators, dump trucks, loaders, graders, backhoes and dozers use hydraulic cylinders. Other hydraulic cylinder uses are heavy machinery, gym equipment, boats, wheelchair lifts and a lot more. The hydraulic cylinder helps the wheelchair lift to balance the load on it. In the case of heavy machinery, hydraulic cylinders will help to extend the control or usage of equipment. Hydraulic Cylinder Types You can find a vast variety of hydraulic cylinders in the market. The difference in the design of cylinders differs from its applications and industry. The common differences include wall thickness of tube or end caps, the methods used for connecting end caps, the material used, the operating pressure, and temperature. Single acting cylinders, double acting cylinders, tie-rod, welded rod, and telescopic are important cylinder types. 1. Single Acting Cylinders The head end port of these cylinders will operate in a single direction. When the fluid gets pumped into the cylinder barrel, it will extend the piston rod. For generating the return operation(convert to non-pressurized state), a load string or any external force is required. Here, on applying energy, the fluid will drain from barrel to the reservoir. A hydraulic jack is an example of a single acting cylinder. Spring-extend and spring-return are the two types of single acting hydraulic cylinder. The spring-extend, single acting cylinders are used for holding workpieces for a long time. A hydraulic pressure released brake is an example of this type. The commonly used variety of single acting cylinder is spring-return(material handling applications). 2. Double Acting Cylinders In double acting cylinders, both the head and rod ends contain ports for pumping fluids. These ports will control the flow of fluid and provide movement in both directions. Pumping hydraulic fluid to the rod end will retract the piston rod and pumping fluid to the head end will extend the piston rod. Most of the raising and lowering devices are applications of this type. The opening and closing drawers of presses and chippers is a good example of double acting cylinders. Differential and synchronous types are the two categories of double acting cylinders. 3. Tie-Rod Cylinders Most of the industrial and manufacturing applications use tie-rod cylinders. The advantages of the tie-rod cylinder include ease of maintenance, repair, and assembling. For holding the end caps of tie rod cylinders, threaded steel rods are used. These end caps will prevent fluid leakages. Depending on the applications, it can use 4 to 20 tie rods. 4. Welded Rod Cylinders This type of cylinders weld end caps directly to the barrel. So, they are difficult for assembling and disassembling. The compact construction, internal bearing lengths and duty cycle of welded rod cylinders make it suitable for mobile applications. 5. Telescopic Cylinders This is a single or double acting cylinder. Telescopic cylinder contains more than five tubings nested inside each other. These nested tubings are called stages and the diameter of each nested tube will become lesser. WHYPS more

6 Tips to Optimize Your Design for a Metal Fabrication Project

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When creating a design for metal fabrication, it’s important to make sure your fabricator will be able to easily translate the design into your desired product. In order to create a useful design, there are certain considerations you should take into account. Here are some tips to optimize your design for metal fabrication.  Provide In-Depth Information in Your RFQ When you request a quote, it’s important to include as much detail as possible. The more information you provide, the more accurate the estimate of your costs will be. Be sure to include shop ready drawings, technical specifications, engineering drawings, plans and profiles, your site address, the person the fabricator should contact, the date you need it by, and any other information that might be relevant. Get Your Fabricator Involved Early When you get your fabricator involved early, you can make sure that all designs are feasible. Any designs that are unrealistic or non-optimal will have to be redesigned, costing you money and time. When you get your fabricator involved early on in the design process, they can provide suggestions and minor alternations to ensure that your design is fabrication-ready. Eliminate Unnecessary Details It’s important to be detailed when creating your design, but extraneous and unnecessary details will cloud your overall design. When your fabricator has trouble deciphering your design, it will delay production and cost you more. Be sure to consult with your fabricator on your design to learn which details are important and which are unnecessary. Test Before Production There are times where a design fails in real world conditions because it doesn’t translate well from theory. Your metal fabricator can provide you with 3D models and prototypes that will help you test your design before production. Testing is important in ensuring that your design will translate well into the production stage of fabrication. Choose Materials Wisely There are many materials to choose from when designing a product for metal fabrication. The metal you choose will effect the practicality of the product, as well as the efficiency and cost of production. Get your metal fabricator’s input before choosing a metal, as they will have suggestions that will aid in the most effective design possible. Choose a Production Partner Who Understands You It’s important to have a good relationship with your metal fabricator. They should be able to translate your designs in any form and understands your intentions and vision for your project. Your fabricator should also be up to date on all relevant engineering design languages, in order to ensure that all directions are followed properly. CAMM Metals | CT Metal Fabricator It's crucial to do your research when choosing a metal fabrication, as not all companies are capable of completing the same quality of work. CAMM METALS more

A Brief Guide on Hydraulic Motors

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Hydraulic motors have a wide wide range of applications in the construction and agriculture industries. These motors will utilize the hydraulic pressure for driving mechanical loads. It is an important part of any hydraulic system along with hydraulic pumps, cylinders, valves, filters, seals, etc. The design and construction of both hydraulic pumps and motors are similar. But the functions they perform are distinct. The hydraulic pump will pressurize the fluid drawn from the reservoir and will pass it to a hydraulic motor through the circuit for developing torque and rotary motion. Most of the hydraulic motors are interchangeable with hydraulic pumps. Those type of motors can perform functions like converting mechanical energy to hydraulic and hydraulic energy to rotary motion or torque. In general, hydraulic motors are rotary actuators that provide the force and supply the motion to move an external load. Fixed or variable displacement motors that operate bi-directionally or uni-directionally are available in the market. Hydraulic motors are rated by its displacement and torque. Hydraulic motors are classified into two based on its torque and rotational speed: Low-Speed High Torque(LSHT) and High-Speed Low Torque(HSLT). 0.1 to 1000 revolutions per minute is the speed limit of LSHT motors and 1000 to 5000 revolutions per minute is the speed limit of HSLT motors. Vane motors, gear motors, and piston motors are important subcategories. Vane motors use a vane to produce mechanical energy. This HSLT unit has features like low noise level, low flow pulsation, high torque at low speed, ease of vertical installation, etc.. Gear motors are low cost and lightweight motors suitable for handling a wide range of temperature, speed, and pressure. Piston pumps are suitable for applications requiring higher speed and higher efficiencies. Hydraulic Motor Applications Almost every equipment utilizing hydraulics will have a hydraulic motor in it. They are important for moving or lifting heavy loads by converting hydraulic energy to rotary motion. Heavy earth moving equipment like excavators, skids, forklifts, heavy dumper trucks, bulldozers, etc.. work based on the extension and retraction of hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulic motors that transmit linear power are these cylinders. The high torque at low-speed operations of hydraulic motors made it suitable for heavy construction equipment like loaders. Compact and efficient hydraulic motors are suitable for operations like boring, reaming, drilling, etc. Some other hydraulic applications are listed below; *Oil pipeline inspection equipment *Milling and sawing applications *Drill and tap machine tool *Marine and offshore applications *Mining applications *Tannery machines *Wind turbines *Injection moulding machines How to Select Hydraulic Motors Hydraulic motor selection is a crucial step for every hydraulic professional. It is not so easy, because you need to choose one suitable for your application from the wide varieties. So, some important hydraulic motor specifications that you need to consider while purchasing a motor are listed in this section. Not all motors are designed to suit all fluids, atmospheric conditions, pressure, speed, etc.. Each parameter will vary based on the selected motors. The important factor that one must consider while selecting, is the performance needs of the application. The maximum speed, flow, temperature and pressure requirements of the application are other key factors to consider. You need to choose a hydraulic motor that reduces the risk of installation and maintenance and also with reduced contamination potential. WHYPS more

All About Hydraulic Pump Repair

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How important is a pump in a hydraulic system? No doubt, when there is high-pressure fluid flow, then that hydraulic system will have a pump. Almost every large, medium or small hydraulic systems will pressurize the fluid stored in the reservoir with a hydraulic pump and pass it towards other hydraulic system components. That is, a hydraulic pump is important for converting mechanical energy to hydraulic energy. Small damage to these hydraulic pumps will inversely affect the performance and efficiency of the hydraulic system. So, proper maintenance is required for a hydraulic pump. Otherwise, it will cause costly and unrepairable damages to your hydraulic system. Also under proper maintenance, there are chances for hydraulic pump failures. But, the severity of the damage can be minimized. If your hydraulic pump fails to provide the required performance and with your hydraulic industry experience you recognized it as minute damage. Then, hydraulic pump repair can be performed by yourself without depending on a technician (Only if you have enough experience and knowledge in hydraulic pumps). There are different hydraulic pumps types available in the market that differs on its application and construction. Discussing hydraulic pump repair tips for all these types are not practical. So, some of the common hydraulic pump failures, causes, and hydraulic pump repairing tips are discussed below. Before directly dismantling or repairing your pump, it is necessary to inspect the system and to understand the root cause of that failure. For inspection, you need to check the following. Pump type and its specifications. What are the symptoms the pump indicates before failure? When the oil was refilled for the last time? The type of oil refilled and whether it is compatible? Previous maintenance history, and more…. The common signs of hydraulic pump failure are loud noises, high oil temperature, and slow or inefficient pump. How to repair hydraulic pumps indicating these signs of failure? The causes and remedy for each of these hydraulic pump failure are listed below. Noisy Hydraulic Pump One of the major benefits of the hydraulic system is its comparatively quieter operation. So, noise from the hydraulic pump or any other system component can be identified easily. The causes for the noisy hydraulic pump are cavitation, aeration, coupling misalignment, and worn/damaged pump. Cavitation is the formation of gas bubbles and this issue can be eliminated by cleaning/replacing the filtration components, or by replacing the hydraulic fluid. Similarly, aeration is air entrapped in the hydraulic fluid and its remedies include bleeding air from the system, tightening leaky connections, replacing seals, filling fluid to the required level, etc.. By properly aligning the seals, couplings and bearings, one can efficiently remove coupling misalignment issues. The only solution to worn/damaged pump is the replacement. Overheated Pump Excessive heat in the pump will affect the fluid viscosity and causes wear to system components. The causes of overheated pump include cavitation, aeration, excessive load, worn/damaged pump, etc.. We have already discussed the remedies for cavitation, aeration and worn/damaged pump in the above section. To overcome issues related to excessive load the operator needs to understand the working load capacity of that pump. Also, the excessive heat issue can be removed by installing a pressure gauge and by adjusting the pressure settings. Slow/Inefficient Pump Hydraulic pump efficiency is important for every hydraulic system. The pump plays a key role in converting mechanical energy to hydraulic energy. Some important reasons other than what we mentioned above include low oil level, low oil viscosity, stuck inner components, etc.. The remedies to solve hydraulic fluid related issues are replacing hydraulic oil or filling it to the required level. Stuck internal components(pistons/valves) causes difficulty to move. It can be a result of corrosion, highly viscous fluids, contaminants, etc.. Most of the above-mentioned tips are applicable only after dismantling the hydraulic pump. Hydraulic pump rebuilding includes adding new components or reassembling existing components. Any fault in this hydraulic pump rebuild can make the system permanently inactive. WHYPS more

Aluminum as Heat Sink Material

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Aluminum is an extremely versatile metal, so it is no wonder that it is a commonly used for heat sink applications. The transfer of heat in order to cool a device or maintain a certain temperature is an important property of modern metals, and aluminum is one of the prime choices for engineers and designers. Today, we will be looking at why aluminum makes such an excellent option for heat sinks and which of its properties make it particularly desirable in this regard. Aluminum is a prized material for several reasons. Its light weight and high strength-to-weight ratio are two of the first characteristics that come to mind. Aluminum also has excellent corrosion resistance, is extremely durable, conducts electricity and offers amazing formability. That is not to mention its recyclability and other sustainability features. When it comes to electronics and other modern devices, one key property is what really makes aluminum indispensable: its remarkable thermal conductivity. This is critical for equipment and applications that must maintain a certain temperature or remove excess heat; aluminum’s conductivity is a natural property that arises from its chemistry. WHAT MAKES ALUMINUM SO GOOD AT CONDUCTING HEAT? When looking at a material’s ability to conduct heat, this is usually measured in what is known as watts per meter-kelvin, which can be denoted as (W/(m⋅K)), or as centimeter-kelvin (W/(cm⋅K)). There is also the English system using British Thermal Units, which measures thermal conductivity as BTU/(h⋅ft⋅°F). No matter how you measure it, the chart of metals that are best at conducting heat will generally start with silver. It has a conductivity of 406 W/(m⋅K). Next on the list is copper at 385 W/(m⋅K), gold offers 314 W/(m⋅K) and then aluminum at 237 W/(m⋅K). Other common metals, like iron and steel, have much lower numbers; stainless steel measures 16 W/(m⋅K). Why is aluminum so high on the list? Without going too deeply into the chemistry, the basic reason that metals are good conductors of heat is that they have free electrons that will start to move as they get heated; that movement (the heat) will get transferred through the metal more quickly than other substances. Metals with more free electrons are more likely to conduct heat well, such as aluminum. A good rule of thumb is that if a metal is good at conducting electricity, it will also be good at conducting heat. Let us compare the metals on the list above to better understand why the best option will be aluminum. First, silver and gold are much more expensive and less practical than aluminum; also, silver tends to corrode quickly when used as a conductor. That leaves copper and aluminum, and while copper is the better conductor, it is also heavier and more expensive. If all that matters for your application is the amount of conductivity, regardless of price and weight, then copper might be your best material. If you require a lightweight, cost-effective material for your heat sink, aluminum is a good option. WHAT IS A HEAT SINK AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT IN MODERN ENGINEERING? A heat sink is a kind of passive heat exchanger. It can transfer heat that has been generated by a device into a fluid medium, normally air but sometimes a liquid coolant. This allows the heat to dissipate away from the equipment. In modern mechanical devices, which can include everything from an engine to electronics, the regulation of heat can be extremely important. A heat sink helps ensure that the device does not overheat. In computers, for instance, heat sinks are useful for keeping the CPU and other important chipsets from becoming too hot. A heat sink usually must have a large surface area to maximize the transfer of the heat into the surrounding air. Aluminum’s many advantages (lightweight, cost-effective, formable) make it a key component for heat sinks in mobile phones, LED lights, televisions and more. The ability to economically extrude aluminum into profiles with multiple “fins” increases the heat sink’s surface area and its’ ability to transfer heat. When designing the heat sink, engineers need to consider several factors: air velocity, surrounding materials, surface treatment, and the shape of the device. Even the adhesive or fastener used to connect the heat sink can have an impact on its effectiveness. WHICH ALLOYS ARE PARTICULARLY WELL SUITED FOR HEAT SINKS? One thing that you should know is that pure metals make better heat conductors than alloyed metals. Working with aluminum, pure aluminum is impractical because it is generally too soft, and certain alloys work better as heat sinks than others. Alloy 1050 is an excellent heat conductor, as high as 229 W/(m⋅K) but tends to be soft. While trading off a bit of conductivity, stronger alloys such as 6060, 6061 and 6063 can still be effective. They will exhibit thermal conductivity values between 166 and 201 W/(m⋅K). Even the temper of the alloy will affect the amount of heat conducted, so it is important to know exactly how much conductivity you need and check it against the properties of the alloy under consideration. Your Technical Services Professional When trying to match a material for an application, it makes sense to work with an experienced material supplier who knows the particulars of heat sinks and conductivity. CLINTONALUMINUM more
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