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Re: Al-yoo-minium

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As many, including Chris, have mentioned, Aluminum is definitely a different beast from steel.

Get the Aluminum manual. It will set you back about $350 and take a week to arrive. Mine did, and I'm the next state over from their printing shop (in MD, if you're curious). It will have not just the formulas and factors your looking for, but the stress allowables (ult, yield, shear) for the common Al alloys and tempers.

E is about 10E6 psi for design (~1/3 steel, as mentioned). Many welds must use near-annealed values, as the resulting weld cannot be restrengthed. This is, obviously true of all the H (work/strain hardened) "tempers". 1, 3, 4, and 5 series are not heat-treatable, only work hardened. 2, 6, and 7 are heat treatable.

Welds are typically bad ideas in aluminum for anything stress critical due to the ease in which inclusions appear in the welds, though some alloys will take welds well. For spaceflight, welding is a last resort for pieces which cannot be joined any other way. Also, don't forget that there is no fatigue limit for aluminum like there is for steel - as cycles increase, it just gets weaker and weaker.
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