Advantages of Aluminum
The properties of aluminum make it one of the most advantageous and versatile materials in use today. Aluminum has the following characteristics:
Aluminum and its alloys weigh only about one-third as much as equal volumes of iron, steel or copper.
Given appropriate tempers, some aluminum alloys equal or surpass the strength of some steels. Strong aluminum alloys can be as much as two or three times stronger than steel for the same weight.
In contrast to steel, titanium and many other materials that become brittle at very low (cryogenic) temperatures, aluminum remains ductile and even gains strength as temperature is reduced. This property makes aluminum highly useful in very cold climates and for transporting extremely cold materials such as liquified natural gas (-260 deg. F).
- Ductile and workable:
Aluminum alloys can be readily formed and fabricated by all standard metal working methods.
Aluminum alloys can be joined by all appropriate major methods, including welding, mechanical connections, and adhesive bonding.
Aluminum alloys with standard commercial finishes typically reflect more than 80 percent of visible light and more than 90 percent of infrared radiation, making aluminum an effective reflector of, or shield against, light, radio waves and radiant heat.
Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor suitable for cooking ware and for heat exchangers; it is more efficient, pound for pound, than copper.
- Electrical conductivity:
Aluminum is also an excellent conductor of electricity, commonly used in such heavy-duty applications as high-voltage transmission lines, bus bars and local and building distribution systems.
- Corrosion resistant:
Aluminum, exposed to air, forms a transparent natural oxide film which seals its surface against further reactions and protects it from corrosion from normal weather exposure. Specific aluminum alloys, treatments and/or coatings may be selected to maximize corrosion resistance in particular applications.
Rolled aluminum alloys are non-toxic, easily cleaned, and non-absorbent. For these reasons, they are widely used in food preparation and packaging.
Rolled aluminum does not burn and it generates no hazardous emissions when exposed to heat. It is safer than many other materials where fire is a potential hazard.
Aluminum's resistance to corrosion and to reaction with most common materials keeps it in good condition throughout the lifetime of most products. Scrap aluminum is widely recycled, reducing demands for waste disposal.