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News

Amazing Aluminium

31/12/2018

Aluminium is ubiquitous in our daily lives; it’s used for so many cool things, and in this blog we’re going to be exalting its qualities. From aerospace technology to the food industry, aluminium is everywhere.

What is Aluminium

Aluminium is a silvery-white metal that is quite light in comparison to other metals. Its soft and malleable quality makes it number one in a variety of industries, including the creation of kitchen products. Surprisingly, we’ve only had aluminium in our lives since 1825 when it was discovered by Hans Oersted.

 

Fact – The origin of its name is derived from the Latin ‘alumen’ which means bitter salt. Alum was used in ancient times as a flame retardant. This made it especially important for protecting wooded fortresses against flamed attacks.

 

 

Qualities of Aluminium

 

Its lightweight nature is extremely important, but it is also low-density, non-toxic, has high thermal conductivity and fantastic corrosion resistance. It’s non-magnetic, non-sparking, the secondmost malleable metal and the sixth most ductile.

It’s one fault is its lack of strength, but this can be remedied by using it as an alloy, combined with other metals to make up for individual faults. Aluminium also costs a huge amount of energy to make; 5% of America’s electricity is used purely for aluminium production. However, because aluminium is anti-corrosive, it can be easily recycled, meaning that the energy is well spent in its production.

Fact – If you dig down to the Earth’s crust, you’ll find that 8.1% of it is made up of aluminium.

 

Uses of Aluminium

 

At Hart Wholesale we sell aluminium profiles and extrusions which are used in building frameworks and mechanical applications. These are extremely versatile - you might have some in your wardrobe without realising it. Aluminium has many other popular uses which we will discuss here:

Kitchen Foil

 

Kitchen foil is extremely versatile; it can help to heat your food up or keep it fresh in the fridge without the same fidgety hassle of cling film. Aluminium foil is made by heating up great slabs of aluminium and then applying pressure through a big rolling machine that thins the metal out.

It’s a bit like rolling out pastry, on an industrial scale.

Window Frames

 

Without window frames, we would have to choose between a severe lack of natural light or a hole in the wall that lets the cold in. Recently, aluminium has spiked as a choice for window frame material; its aesthetic is sleek and modern, where plastic often looks cheap and common. It’s also non-corrosive, unlike wood, so it will last longer with less maintenance.

Beer Kegs

 

Beer kegs have been around for ages, but aluminium ones are especially handy. Because of aluminium’s lightweight and airtight qualities, it’s the perfect material for containing the beverage of your choice, without adding much extra weight.

Cans

 

It’s like a smaller version of the beer keg, but what we didn’t mention was that aluminium is also great for printing onto. The metallic texture really makes branding shine and colours pop, a quality that’s difficult to replicate in bio-degradable paper-packaged food.

Coca-cola and Pepsi both made the switch to aluminium in the same year – 1967.

Airplane Parts

 

Of all the aluminium produced in the world, 27% is consumed by the transportation industry and a large amount of that is used in building aircraft. Aluminium succeeds because it is lightweight and easily available, unlike titanium which would also make a good substitute for aircraft material, but is far less cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Multi-Layer Insulation

 

As well as aircraft, aluminium is a key factor in producing spacecraft, such as rockets and satellites. Amongst other things, aluminium is used in multi-layer thermal insulation, which protects delicate instruments from extreme temperatures.

Construction

 

Aluminium wasn’t used in construction until 1931, where its impact on the Empire States Building was extensive. The Empire State Building employed aluminium both in basic structures and interior design. Ever since, it has been a key player in building works.

 

 

How Much Aluminium Do We Need

 

We use aluminium for a lot of things, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we consumed over 50,000,000 tonnes of the stuff in 2013 and that this number is set to increase. In 2023, it’s thought that we’ll be using as much as 80,000,000 tonnes, as we phase out the use of heavy steels in the automotive industry.

 

If you need more aluminium in your life, then perhaps you need aluminium profiles for building, art projects, or to replace a broken piece in your home or office. When you next hold a piece of aluminium, remember that it’s humanity’s key to space travel.t we’ll be using as much as 80,000,000 tonnes, as we phase out the use of heavy steels in the automotive industry.


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