Aluminum 3003 and aluminum 5052 are some of the most commonly used aluminum alloys. But it isn’t always easy to differentiate the two. So, what is the difference?
Aluminum 3003 is the cheaper of the two, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t up to par for certain applications. It has moderate strength and good formability and workability. It is also corrosion resistant making it ideal for applications such as heat exchangers and roofing and siding. Its major alloying element is manganese which allows for the formation of grains that absorb impurities and prevent corrosion.
If that also sounds like aluminum 5052 that is because both alloys obtain similar characteristics. However, the 5052 alloy has a higher strength and greater corrosion resistance (including to salt water). Its major alloying element is magnesium. Magnesium overcomes the corrosive effects of the iron present in the alloy. It also has better finishing characteristics than the 3003 alloy. These attributes make aluminum 5052 a great fit for food processing equipment and truck trailers as well as marine and aquatic features.
Because the difference isn’t always obvious with these two mill finish aluminum alloys, we have provided an infographic for easy reference.
If you have more questions about the difference in these two aluminum alloys contact your local sales representative. For more information on how aluminum is made read our blog post on the process: “Aluminum: How it is Made.”
Aluminum Alloys 3003 and Aluminum 5052: What’s the difference?