A360 Aluminum: Learn About This Corrosion-Resistant Casting Alloy

by , | Aluminum Alloys, Aluminum Die Casting, Gabrian Blog

A360 aluminum is a popular die-casting alloy owing to its high corrosion resistance and excellent strength at elevated temperatures. Design engineers use this alloy as an alternative to A380 aluminum. So, you may be interested in its composition, applications, and suitability for your die-cast part.

Read on for essential information about the alloy and a comparison to A380 aluminum to help you determine if it is right for your project.

Aluminum A360 Chemical Composition

As a member of the 3xx.x alloy series, A360 is primarily alloyed with silicon, and alloys in this series are the most commonly used for die castings. Here, you can see a breakdown of its alloying elements alongside those of A380.

SL. No Element A360 A380
1 Copper (Cu) ≤0.6% 3-4%
2 Iron (Fe) ≤1.3% ≤1.3%
3 Magnesium (Mg) 0.4-0.6% ≤0.1%
4 Manganese (Mn) ≤0.35% ≤0.5%
5 Nickel (Ni) ≤0.5% ≤0.5%
6 Silicon (Si) 9.0-10.0% 7.5-9.5%
7 Tin (Sn) ≤0.15% ≤0.35%
8 Zinc (Zn) ≤0.5% ≤3%

‎There are two things to note about the alloy’s composition:

  • The main alloying element is silicon (9.0-10.0%), which enhances the alloy’s fluidity, allowing it to flow easily into complex molds during the die-casting process. A360’s higher silicon content also contributes to its corrosion resistance.
  • Copper is restricted in A360, which further enhances corrosion resistance. It also reduces hardness and tensile strength, so magnesium is used as a controlled addition to make up for this. (NADCA)

Mechanical Properties of A360 Aluminum

Engineers generally regard A360 as an alternative to A380 because it has similar mechanical properties overall but with improved corrosion resistance and better strength at high temperatures. Here are some key mechanical properties of A360.

SL. No. Description A360 A380
1 Hardness, Brinell 75 80
2 Tensile Strength,Ultimate (MPa) 317 324
3 Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa) 165 159
4 Elongation % in 2in. (51mm) 3.5 3.5

Owing to its similar mechanical properties, this alloy can be suitable for many of the same applications as A380.

Physical Properties of A360 Aluminum

Here are some key physical properties of the alloy.

SL. No. Description A360 A380
1 Thermal Conductivity (W/m °K) 113 96
2 Electrical Conductivity %IACS 21 23

High thermal conductivity in aluminum alloys, like A360, enhances their suitability for die-casting applications, particularly in industries where effective heat dissipation is essential for maintaining performance and durability, such as automotive and communication. (MDPI)

Applications of the A360 Aluminum Alloy

Outboard motor on the back of a white boat

A360 aluminum is a die-casting alloy that can be used for diverse applications, and some of the most common are:

  • Marine: The alloy’s corrosion resistance properties make it a popular choice for outboard motors and other marine applications.
  • Automotive: Companies use A360 aluminum to make various automotive components and accessories, such as luggage mounts.
  • Other: Manufacturers often use A360 to produce irrigation system parts, hydraulic cylinders, and other parts that require good corrosion resistance or pressure tightness.

So, how does this alloy compare to A380, which is widely considered the ‘default’ casting alloy?

A360 vs. A380

Stack of raw aluminum ingots

As you can see from the chemical composition above, the biggest difference between these two alloys is A360’s reduction of copper and the addition of silicon. This, along with other differences in composition, gives A360 more corrosion resistance and strength at elevated temperatures, while other properties of the alloys are essentially comparable (NADCA).

A360 is often suitable for similar applications to A380, but with these added benefits. As such, we often recommend our customers consider A360 because we find the cost of the alloys to differ little.

Surface Finishing for This Alloy

Tanks for aluminum anodization

Die-cast parts made from A360 can accept surface finishes such as anodization and powder coating to enhance their appearance and corrosion resistance.  However, keep in mind that it is a challenging alloy to finish and requires additional pretreatments.

Need a Second Opinion?

At Gabrian, we offer custom die-cast parts produced in India and can make alloy recommendations for your part. Contact us today to discuss the details of your project, and we’ll be happy to provide you with a part review and quote. Learn more about our die casting services.

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