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Aluminum Casting: A Summary

Employed for thousands of years, metal casting is one of the most ancient of processes. Today, aluminum casting is used all over the world to create unique products that are marketed for their durability as well as light weight. As a matter of fact, aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust. A superior conductor of heat and electricity, aluminum also has an extremely high strength to weight ratio, making it the material of choice for airplanes, trucks, and other transportation products.

Experts in aluminum casting divide the casting process into two main techniques; ingot and mold casting. Using the ingot method, metalworkers cast rolling slab, billet or wire bar into the desired semi-finished or finished piece, using either primary or secondary aluminum. As both primary and secondary aluminum are virtually identical from a materials standpoint, with primary aluminum derived from bauxite using electrolytic reduction and its secondary form created from melted aluminum scrap, the end product is virtually the same.

In contrast, mold casting may be done either using a sand or steel mold, as well as by lost foam and wax pattern methods. All are used to create complex aluminum shapes, the production of which would otherwise be economically unfeasible or too labor intensive to undertake.

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