2024 Aluminum: Get to Know its Properties and Uses

by | Aluminum Alloys, Aluminum Extrusion Design, Aluminum Extrusions, Blog

When considering different alloys for an extrusion project, it is important to understand the properties of each alloy and how it compares to the alternatives.

2024 aluminum is an alloy that is often used in the aerospace industry. It is a high-strength alloy suitable for projects requiring a high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent fatigue resistance. As such, it is primarily found in wing and fuselage structures that frequently come under tension.

This alloy is often extruded, but it can also be found in sheet and plate form.

Here are Some General Characteristics of 2024

This alloy features high strength, poor corrosion resistance and weldability, good workability, and fair machinability. Download a PDF of its characteristics and material properties.

CharacteristicAppraisal
StrengthHigh
Corrosion ResistancePoor
Weldability & BrazabilityPoor
WorkabilityGood
MachinabilityFair

As a 2000 series alloy, 2024 aluminum is frequently heat treated to enhance its strength.

Material Properties of 2024-T3, 2024-T4/T351, 2024-T851 Aluminum

Some of the most common tempering options for this alloy are T3, T4/T351, and T851.

Physical Properties of 2024 Aluminum

Here we can see the density of the alloy. Note that there is no difference in density between the different tempers.

Property2024-T32024-T4, T3512024-T851
Density2.78 g/cc | 0.100 lb/in³2.78 g/cc | 0.100 lb/in³2.78 g/cc | 0.100 lb/in³

Mechanical Properties of 2024 Aluminum

Here we can see the tensile strength, yield strength, and modulus of elasticity for the alloy in the T3, T4/T351, and T851 conditions.

Property2024-T32024-T4, T3512024-T851
Tensile Strength483 MPa | 70000 psi469 MPa | 68000 psi>=455 MPa | 66000 psi
Yield Strength345 MPa | 50000 psi324 MPa | 47000 psi>=400 MPa | 58000 psi
Modulus of Elasticity73.1 GPa| 10600 ksi73.1 GPa| 10600 ksi72.4 GPa | 10500 ksi

Thermal Properties of 2024 Aluminum

Here we can see some thermal properties of the alloy including the coefficient of thermal expansion and thermal conductivity. The T3, T4/T351, and T851 conditions are included.

Property2024-T32024-T4, T3512024-T851
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion @ 20.0 - 100 °C Temp23.2 µm/m-°C | 12.9 µin/in-°F23.2 µm/m-°C | 12.9 µin/in-°F23.2 µm/m-°C | 12.9 µin/in-°F
Thermal Conductivity121 W/m-K | 840 BTU-in/hr-ft²-°F121 W/m-K | 840 BTU-in/hr-ft²-°F151 W/m-K | 1050 BTU-in/hr-ft²-°F

Note: The material properties above have been pulled from Matweb, here, here, and here. Please note that they cannot be 100% verified.

Now, you may be wondering about the composition of the 2024 alloy.

Chemical Composition of 2024 Aluminum

Like other 2000 series alloys, 2024 is primarily alloyed with copper. It also contains manganese and magnesium and can sometimes contain smaller amounts of silicon, iron, chromium, zinc and/or titanium. Here we can see the guidelines for its chemical composition.

ElementMinimum %Maximum %
SiliconNo Min0.5
IronNo Min0.5
Copper3.84.9
Manganese0.50.6
Magnesium1.21.8
ChromiumNo Min0.1
ZincNo Min0.25
TitaniumNo Min0.15
Other ElementsNo Min0.05 each
0.15 in total

Now that we’ve seen the chemical composition of 2024, let’s talk about how the alloy compares to some other key options.

Comparing 2024 Aluminum to Other Alloys

The 2024 alloy is often chosen for applications that require high strength, but you may be considering other options for your particular application. Below are some other common alloys that are often considered as alternatives.

2024 vs 6061

Round Aluminum Tube6061 aluminum, also known as “structural aluminum” is an alloy in the 6000 series with magnesium as its primary alloying element. It offers medium to high strength but does not offer the same tensile or yield strength that 2024 does. While it is not as strong, it is more versatile. It is more corrosion resistant, easier to weld, and more suited to machining.

It has a wide range of applications, including building products, piping, and recreational products. Like 2024, it is also used in wing and fuselage structures, but this is more common in homebuilt aircraft, as opposed to commercial or military aircraft.

2024 vs 7075

Airplane Flying From Nose ViewThe 7075 alloy, like 2024, is very common in the aerospace industry. The main reason for this is that it is one of the strongest aluminum alloys available. With precipitation hardening, it can achieve a tensile strength of 83,000 psi and a yield strength of 73,000 psi, stronger than 2024. In terms of applications, 7075 is suited to applications that require high stress/strain resistance. Whereas, 2024 is suited to applications where high cyclic fatigue resistance is required.

Summary

The 2024 aluminum alloy is often used in aircraft structural applications due to its high strength and fatigue resistance. It is stronger than 6061 but less versatile. It is suited to applications that require high stress and strain resistance, whereas 7075 has high cyclic fatigue resistance.

Download our PDF on 2024 aluminum properties to keep as a reference. And if you need an aluminum extrusion supplier in Asia, learn more about our capabilities.

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