Question: We need to bend T6 aluminium without cracking, Is this possible?
Answer: T6 aluminium is hardened through artificial aging that causes particles within the metal to be spread evenly throughout the grain structure of the metal. Once the particles become dispersed, they hinder any further dislocation of the grain, thereby strengthening the metal. This makes it notoriously difficult to bend to tighter radii.
Ideally it is best to bend aluminium in the T4 state and then age harden it after bending.
However, the ideal is not always possible. In this case, very special care must be taken during the design and bending processes to allow for proper bending without damage.
Advice for Aluminium Bending
When a tight radius is required, choosing the right aluminium grade can make a massive difference in what minimum bend radius is possible.
Ideally, part designers should know that when it comes to aluminium grades, the 3000 series is generally the best to bend with. The aluminium series’ ability to bend tends to decrease as you move down the list of tempers. T0 is the easiest to bend, while T6 is the most difficult.
Using the Correct Tooling
Tooling for aluminium extrusion bending is an often forgotten step that has a massive impact on any project. Using Tooling that is not accurate, does not give the correct support or is made of substandard material can lead to scrapped parts and downtime. This is why ensuring that the best tooling possible is used on each project.
At Alubend we have a team of skilled design engineers that have a great understanding of the structural qualities of aluminium while being curved. This gives them a step up from the very early stages of the design process as they have an idea of what the material will do during bending.
If you need more information on bending T6 aluminium, or a have project you would like us to look at, please get in touch with our team.