An aluminum flange, which is constructed from aluminum as the name suggests, is preferred in certain flange systems because it weighs considerably less than a steel flange of the same size. There are several benefits to using an aluminum flange over other types of metal flanges. The weight properties alone make the aluminum flange a highly popular choice, along with the overall lower production and material costs. In addition to aluminum being a softer metal, it often takes less time to manufacture an aluminum flange as compared to other metals, such as a stainless steel flange. Flange sizes generally do not play a role in determining the type of material to use, since aluminum flanges can be made to match any given size.
Metal flanges can be constructed from a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, or aluminum. Production times, as well as costs, are primary factors one should consider when deciding to use aluminum flanges. When multiple flanges are required, choosing to implement lightweight aluminum flanges can keep the overall weight of a flange system manageable.
The desired implementation purposes and sizes of flanges do not generally differ from one type of metal flange to another. Often it is the application that dictates whether an aluminum flange will suffice or not. For example, the plumbing of corrosive materials may require flanges constructed from a material that has higher resistance properties, such as stainless steel. On the other hand, a common application for an aluminum flange is indicated in the construction of waveguide.
Commonly used in industrial microwave applications, waveguide is simply a specially sized rectangular pipe, specifically designed to carry or plumb microwaves. Industrial microwave applications can have literally hundreds of flange connections throughout the system. By utilizing aluminum flanges, the overall weight as well as the cost of a system can be minimized.
As with any other type of metal flange, an aluminum flange can fail for a variety of reasons. When a flanged connection fails, it can indicate that one or both flanges require a fix. Repairing a broken aluminum flange requires approximately the same measures as repairing any other metal flange. Broken aluminum flanges can be welded and re-machined, or simply replaced. Just as with other flanges, an aluminum flange can require repairs due to damage, and may have flaws due to incorrect manufacturing or defects in the metal used to make it.