Setting the Standard.
Through the work of our standards team and the Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS), the association serves as the major standard setting organization for the global aluminum industry. This includes registering new aluminum alloys and products, managing and updating publications, and more.
Aluminum’s properties such as strength, density, workability, electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance are affected by adding other elements such as magnesium, silicon or zinc.
The military Bradley Fighting Vehicle is made from two different aluminum alloys: a 7xxx series and 5xxx series. Trusted to keep soldiers safe and mobile, aluminum is also used in many other military vehicles.
America’s favorite beverage container, the aluminum can, is made from multiple aluminum alloys. The shell of the can is composed of 3004 and the lid is made from 5182. Sometimes it takes more than one alloy to make one, everyday item.
Aluminum alloys can be made stronger through heat-treatment or cold working. The attributes of a particular alloy are different because of their additives and treatment.
Creating New Alloys
More than 60 years ago, the Aluminum Association established the wrought alloy designation system through its Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS), which was adopted in the US in 1954.
Three years later, the system was approved as American National Standard H35.1. This designation system was officially adopted by the International Signatories of the Declaration of Accord in 1970 and became an international designation system. In the same year, Standards Committee H35 on Aluminum Alloys was authorized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), with the Association serving as the Secretariat. The Association has served as the major standard setting organization for the global aluminum industry ever since.
The alloy registration system is currently managed by the Association’s TCPS. The whole process, from registering a new alloy to assigning a new designation, takes between 60 to 90 days. When the current system was originally developed in 1954, the list included 75 unique chemical compositions. Today, there are more than 530 registered active compositions and that number continues to grow. That underscores how versatile and ubiquitous aluminum has become in our modern world.
Commercially Pure Aluminum
The 1xxx series alloys are comprised of aluminum 99 percent or higher purity. This series has excellent corrosion resistance, excellent workability, as well as high thermal and electrical conductivity. This is why the 1xxx series is commonly used for transmission, or power grid, lines that connect the national grids across the United States. Common alloy designations in this series are 1350, for electrical applications, and 1100, for food packaging trays.
Some alloys are strengthened by solution heat-treating and then quenching, or rapid cooling. Heat treating takes the solid, alloyed metal and heats it to a specific point. The alloy elements, called solute, are homogeneously distributed with the aluminum putting them in a solid solution. The metal is subsequently quenched, or rapidly cooled, which freezes the solute atoms in place. The solute atoms consequently combine into a finely distributed precipitate. This occurs at room temperature which is called natural aging or in a low temperature furnace operation which is called artificial aging.
In the 2xxx series, copper is used as the principle alloying element and can be strengthened significantly through solution heat-treating. These alloys possess a good combination of high strength and toughness, but do not have the levels of atmospheric corrosion resistance as many other aluminum alloys. Therefore, these alloys are usually painted or clad for such exposures. They’re generally clad with a high-purity alloy or a 6xxx series alloy to greatly resist corrosion. Alloy 2024 perhaps the most widely known aircraft alloy.
The 6xxx series are versatile, heat treatable, highly formable, weldable and have moderately high strength coupled with excellent corrosion resistance. Alloys in this series contain silicon and magnesium in order to form magnesium silicide within the alloy. Extrusion products from the 6xxx series are the first choice for architectural and structural applications. Alloy 6061 is the most widely used alloy in this series and is often used in truck and marine frames. Additionally, certain versions of the iPhone have used 6xxx series aluminum extrusions.
Zinc is the primary alloying agent for this series, and when magnesium is added in a smaller amount, the result is a heat-treatable, very high strength alloy. Other elements such as copper and chromium may also be added in small quantities. The most commonly known alloys are 7050 and 7075, which are widely used in the aircraft industry. Apple®’s aluminum Watch, released in 2015, was made from a custom 7xxx
Non Heat-Treatable Alloys
Non-heat treated alloys are strengthened through cold-working. Cold working occurs during rolling or forging methods and is the action of “working” the metal to make it stronger. For example, when rolling aluminum down to thinner gauges, it gets stronger. This is because cold working builds up dislocations and vacancies in the structure, which then inhibits the movement of atoms relative to each other. This increases the strength of the metal. Alloying elements like magnesium intensify this effect, resulting in even higher strength.
Manganese is the major alloying element in this series, often with smaller amounts of magnesium added. However, only a limited percentage of manganese can be effectively added to aluminum. 3003 is a popular alloy for general purpose because it has moderate strength and good workability and may be used in applications such as heat exchangers and cooking utensils. Alloy 3004 and its modifications are used in the bodies of aluminum beverage cans.
4xxx series alloys are combined with silicon, which can be added in sufficient quantities to lower the melting point of aluminum, without producing brittleness. Because of this, the 4xxx series produces excellent welding wire and brazing alloys where a lower melting point is required. Alloy 4043 is one of the most widely used filler alloys for welding 6xxx series alloys for structural and automotive applications.
Magnesium is the primary alloying agent in the 5xxx series and is one of the most effective and widely used alloying elements for aluminum. Alloys in this series possess moderate to high strength characteristics, as well as good weldablility and resistance to corrosion in the marine environment. Because of this, aluminum-magnesium alloys are widely used in building and construction, storage tanks, pressure vessels and marine applications. Examples of common alloy applications include: 5052 in electronics, 5083 in marine applications, anodized 5005 sheet for architectural applications and 5182 makes the aluminum beverage can lid. The U.S. military’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle is made with 5083 and the 7xxx series aluminum
ANSI ASC H35
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) H35 oversees and approves changes for five different ANSI aluminum standards. Committee members are comprised of producers, users, general interest and distributors of aluminum, who are mostly not members of the Aluminum Association. The Association is secretariat of this committee and oversees all work related to updating ANSI H35.1, H35.2, H35.3, H35.4 and H35.5, which establish the designation systems for various forms of aluminum and inform other publications produced by the Association.
The Aluminum Association, Inc.
Jerome Fourmann, Rio Tinto
Sam Muhamed, The Aluminum Association, Inc.
1400 Crystal Drive., Suite 430
Arlington, VA 22202
- To review all proposals and/or recommendations regarding revisions, additions, or deletions to: the Alloy and Temper Designation Systems for Aluminum (ANSI H35.1/H35.1(M), Dimensional Tolerances For Aluminum Mill Products (ANSI H35.2 and .2(M)), the Designation System for Aluminum Hardeners (ANSI H35.3), the Designation System for Unalloyed Aluminum (ANSI H35.4) and the Nomenclature System for Aluminum Metal Matrix Composite Materials (ANSI H35.5).
- To encourage the use of these documents by reference in other specifications.
To develop proposals for new ANSI standards applicable to aluminum and aluminum alloy wrought and cast products.
Organization and Classification
- Aluminum Association - Producer
- American Foundry Society - Producer
- Aluminum Extruders Council - Producer
- Metal Services Center Institute - Distributer
- National Electrical Manufacturers Association - User
- U.S. Department of Commerce - General Interest
- Society of Automotive Engineers - User
- Department of the Navy - User
- Brian P. Cochran & Associates - General Interest
- U.S. Air Force - User
Registration Records - Rainbow Sheets
International Registration Records
International Alloy Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Wrought Aluminum and Wrought Aluminum Alloys
International Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Aluminum Hardeners
International Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Unalloyed Aluminum
Domestic (North American) Registration Records
Components of Clad Aluminum Alloy Products
Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Aluminum Alloys in the Form of Castings and Ingot
Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Aluminum Powders and Aluminum Alloy Powders
Tempers for Aluminum and Aluminum Alloy Products Metric Edition
Tempers for Aluminum and Aluminum Alloy Products
Alloy, Temper and Product Registration Forms
The registration of alloys and products standards follow specific rules as prescribed in the pertinent American National Standards and the registration records.
To facilitate understanding of the basic registration criteria and the information required to consider registration requests for various alloys and product standards, the below-listed forms have been created. Each form includes a template in Word that can be completed by a potential registrant for submission to The Aluminum Association.
Errata for Publications
Standards Action Report
The majority of the association’s standards activities are carried out by the Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS) in accordance with the Aluminum Association procedures governing these activities.
Product Divisions may also form technical committees to work on specific standards that affect their products. For example, the Electrical Division has a Task Group of AA Representatives on National Electrical Code Panels.
To request a copy of a project or to discuss placing a representative on TCPS, contact Sam Muhamed at email@example.com.
Recent Standards Actions
The Aluminum Association completed registration of one new international wrought alloy designation 6084.
Note: Alloys and tempers registered since the last edition of the Rainbow Sheet publication are listed in the respective addendum available under the Rainbow Sheet Addenda tab on this page.
Under Review by Signatories to the Declaration of Accord-Wrought
Under Review by the Subcommittee on Alloy and Temper Registrations (SCATR)
- PN23-55 Upgrade elongation, 7140-T7451 Plate
- PS24-101 TG to develop temper modification process
- PS24-102 Capture use of clause 3.c.1 in temper registration
- TCPS & SCATR
April 11, 2024 (Spring)
October 24, 2024 (Fall)