With its low price point and numerous benefits, aluminum has quickly gained favor among manufacturers across a number of industries. Here are ten reasons why designers and manufacturers are increasing their use of aluminum.
1. Strength. While aluminum alone is not as strong as steel, higher strengths can be obtained by adding manganese, silicon, copper, magnesium, or zinc to the aluminum alloy. Strength of aluminum can also be increased with specialized heat treatments.
2. Light Weight. Aluminum weighs less by volume than most other metals. The light weight of aluminum makes it easier to handle and less expensive to ship, reasons that have made aluminum an attractive material for use by many industries, including aerospace, construction, and automotive.
3. Corrosion Resistant. For many applications, aluminum profiles require no more protection than its naturally occurring, transparent oxide film. However, aluminum profiles can be treated with a wide range of finishes wherever additional protection or an enhanced appearance is desired.
4. Thermal Conductivity. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of both heat and cold, and a key reason it is used for engine components, air conditioning units, heat sinks, and cookware. Custom shapes that make optimal use of aluminum’s thermal conduction properties can be created using an aluminum extrusion process.
5. Machinability. Aluminum is fairly soft and easier to cut, saw, carve, drill, and machine making it less expensive to work with then metals such as steel or stainless steel.
6. Malleability. Aluminum can be easily rolled into strips and foils and bent or formed into shapes, making it an ideal metal for component parts and a number of end use applications.
7. Temperature Performance. While aluminum can soften at temperatures above 400 degrees, its heat resistance can be improved by adding other metals to the alloy. In cold temperatures, the strength of aluminum actually increases making it a preferred metal by the aerospace industry.
8. Electrical Conductivity. Because of its low density, aluminum will conduct more than twice as much current as the equivalent weight of copper. Due to its high conductivity, light weight, and corrosion resistance, aluminum is today’s metal of choice for high-voltage overhead power lines.
9. Recyclable. Aluminum can be recycled and reused over and over without losing any of its characteristics, which mean there is no loss of quality in using recycled aluminum. For architectural projects, aluminum usage contributes to LEED’s certification, which helps increase a project’s value.
10. Cost Effective. While the price of all metals continually fluctuates based on global supply and demand, fuel costs and the price and availability of raw materials, the price of aluminum is typically lower than most other metals. Additionally, lower shipping, production, and machining costs add to aluminum’s cost effectiveness.