Aluminum Extrusion Guide

An aircraft extrusion is created by heating a piece of aluminum alloy metal and pushing or pulling it through a die to form a variety of shapes.

Extreme temperatures (close to 900ºF) allow the raw material to take on the form of the die.

When the piece is cooled, it hardens to the desired shape. The aluminum extrusion profile is then ready to be cut to a predetermined length to create the finished product.

In this article, we will provide in-depth information about aluminum extrusions and their benefits, specifically concerning aerospace and defense applications.

What Are Aluminum Extrusions?

Aluminum extrusion occurs when an aluminum alloy is transformed into an object with a definitive cross-sectional profile. Aluminum extrusion is compatible with a wide array of applications due to the unique physical characteristics aluminum possesses.

The unique flexible properties of aluminum allow the raw material to be easily machined and cast. With one-third the density and stiffness of steel, aluminum can form strong and stable products, particularly when alloyed with other complementing metals.

The following steps are involved in the aluminum extrusion process:

  1. After establishing the shape of the die, a cylindrical aluminum alloy billet gets heated to extreme temperatures ranging between 800ºF and 925ºF.
  2. The aluminum billet gets transferred to a loader and a lubricant is applied to prevent the material from sticking to the extrusion machine, ram, or handle.
  3. Significant pressure is applied to a dummy block, pushing the billet into a container, thus forcing it through the die.
  4. Nitrogen (in liquid or gaseous form) is introduced to the aluminum alloy to prevent the formation of oxides in the die sections. This step increases the life of the die by creating an inert atmosphere.
  5. The extruded part is pushed onto a run-out table, taking on the shape of the die opening. The elongated piece is pulled onto the cooling table, allowing fans to cool the newly formed aluminum extrusion.
  6. Once the cooling process is complete, the extruded aluminum is moved to a stretcher to be straightened and work hardened.
  7. The cured aluminum extrusions are then brought to the saw table and precisely cut according to the specified lengths required by the application.
  8. The final step in the extrusion process is to place the piece in an age oven to harden the aluminum and speed up the aging process of the end product.

Aluminum Extrusion Industrial Applications

The primary industries served by New Source Corporation include the aerospace and military/defense sectors.


Aluminum extrusions are beneficial in a wide range of applications, including components used on the International Space Station and a diverse variety of other aerospace needs.

The beneficial attributes of aluminum used in aerospace components include:

  • Strength-to-weight ratio
  • Ductility
  • Conductivity
  • Non-magnetic properties
  • Repeated recyclability without a loss of integrity

These combined capabilities make aluminum extrusions an adaptable and viable solution for the unique needs of the aerospace industry.


Aluminum is not only stronger than other commonly used metals, but it is also lightweight, which provides a variety of benefits for military applications. Some of the other advantages of using aluminum include:

  • Minimal maintenance
  • Absence of brittleness, especially at low temperatures
  • Ability to engineer functionality into a variety of components
  • Greater corrosion resistance compared to steel
  • Abrasion-resistant

Steel parts require an additional coating to limit corrosion over time. Since aluminum does not rust, no further treatments are needed, making it the perfect material for harsh environments.

Aluminum extrusions are an essential component of military solutions, commonly used in:

  • Aircraft and Helicopters
  • Military vehicles
  • Landing mats used during rapid deployment
  • Tents used for hospitals and command operations
  • Vessels used in combat
  • The International Space Station



Benefits of Aluminum Extrusions

Some of the many benefits of aluminum extrusions include:

Corrosion Resistant

An aluminum extrusion offers excellent abrasion and corrosion resistance. Aluminum does not rust and is further protected by the naturally occurring oxide coating found on the material. Finishing processes, such as anodizing, further enhance aluminum’s natural corrosion resistance.

Easily Tailored

Compared to steel, aluminum is extremely malleable and elastic, making it easily machinable. The unique trait allows the aluminum to mold into complex-shaped extrusions ideal for military applications.

Hard alloy aluminum extrusions can also withstand harsh weather conditions and are the best solution for parts used in military-grade equipment and vehicles that commonly operate in intense environments.

High in Strength-to-Weight Material

The unique combination of low weight and high strength makes aluminum extrusion profiles beneficial in the following applications, where load carrying is a primary concern for key performance:

  • Aerospace
  • Truck Trailer
  • Bridges

Using aluminum in military vehicles lightens the load, allowing for cost-effective and efficient movement of troops.


Weight reduction is a growing concern in areas such as transportation, and using lighter parts makes shipping less costly. Aluminum is an attractive material for applications involving moving parts since it is easier to handle and weighs considerably less than other commonly used materials.

Aluminum is approximately 1/3 the weight of brass, copper, steel, and iron and is 2 ½ times less dense than steel. Despite aluminum’s strength, it is incredibly lightweight, making aluminum extrusions the perfect solution for various industries and applications.


The extrusion process allows manufacturers to control and concentrate the strength of aluminum to where it is needed most. Internal reinforcement and varying wall thicknesses can be modified to meet the specified needs of the aluminum extrusion profile design.

Aluminum becomes further strengthened in low temperatures, making it the perfect solution for cold-weather applications.



Aluminum Aerospace Extrusions from New Source Corporation

New Source Corporation offers a broad range of high-performance metals and aluminum extrusions, with an extensive inventory of hard-to-find items.

Since 1992, our company has been a major distributor of aerospace-grade aluminum extrusions. We are a trusted provider of all the products and services you need to get the job done. Large orders and next-day shipments are not a problem for our experienced team.

As a one-stop shop, we offer a vast array of aluminum grades and have an extensive selection of hard alloy extruded shapes in stock. We have add-on capabilities to meet the demand for specialty pieces and precise cutting services.

New Source Corporation offers vendor-managed inventory and is a key supplier for various government prime contractors. We also service the MRO market, specializing in managing AOG situations. Our extensive experience in the industry allows us to handle all your aluminum extrusion needs with ease.

With the help of our manufacturing partners, New Source Corporation offers complete custom design solutions. Our creative team understands that even though we carry the largest raw materials and aerospace metals on the market, manufacturers do not always produce the required parts to desired specifications.

Our three-step process is designed around our customer's unique needs and varies widely depending on the application. The process involves the following:

  1. Provide us with a drawing designating your exact specifications.
  2. We will select a manufacturing partner that is best suited for the job.
  3. Depending on your needs, we will coordinate with the chosen manufacturer to create the component or a custom die for mass production.

New Source Corporation offers this service to all our defense and commercial sector clients. Our ultimate goal is to help you quickly, efficiently, and affordably create an aluminum extrusion that performs the necessary functions using our extensive aerospace metal experience.


A proud distributor of mill-certified materials with a focus on exceptional customer service and quick turnaround time.



2016 & 2018


  • AS9100 Certification

  • AS9120 Certification

  • ISO 9001:2015 Certification

  • Defense Logistics Qualified Supplier (QSLD)

  • 2019 Boeing Performance Excellence Award

  • Thomas Verified Supplier

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Partner with New Source Corporation for All Your Aluminum Extrusion Needs

New Source Corporation is the number one source for aircraft extrusions and metal products. Our dedicated team has vast expertise in the aerospace and defense industries and offers impeccable custom design services.

With a 99.85% quality rating, New Source Corporation stands out among the competition by continually maintaining various certifications and partnerships, including:

  • QSLD Program (Qualified Suppliers List of Distributors)
  • ISO 9001 Certification
  • S. Small Business Administration
  • Thomas Verified Supplier

Contact New Source Corporation today to discuss your aircraft or defense aluminum extrusion needs. We are happy to provide a quote or answer any questions you may have.

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