No other metal has been used as profoundly as aluminum in ancient and modern times. Throughout the years, it has been proven that aluminum products are lightweight by nature, are durable and resilient to corrosion, and can give a sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing appearance to many buildings, furniture, and new technological inventions.
The Rise and Reign of Aluminum
For more than 100 years, aluminum has been used as the primary building block in many industries. It wasn’t until the late 1800s’ when aluminum became widely used in infrastructure, including automotive, energy, construction, aerospace, energy, packaging, and many more applications encountered in daily life.
Today, aluminum is the most abundant and most used mineral on earth. Considered once more rare than gold and silver, aluminum has had a significant impact on the strength of structures and the decline in manufacturing and application costs over the years. More importantly, aluminum products have made remarkable advances in aerospace possible, as it was and continues to be an essential component of legendary space missions such as the Apollo Space program.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, businesses acknowledged the unique properties of aluminum and started using it in power transmission lines and train electrical wiring. At that same time, aluminum was also used by the Wright Brothers to manufacture the first biplane. Almost a decade later, aluminum alloy started to become the main component of physical properties, and in the 1930s, the Aluminum Association was established.
During the Second World War, aluminum emerged as the catalytic force that was used to build powerful aircraft frames, ships, and radar chaff. Moreover, aluminum recycling became more prevalent during this period. More recently, we’ve seen aluminum products become a mainstay of consumer electronics and manufacturing. Its unparalleled heat capacity, tensile strength, and abundance in modern times make it invaluable for infrastructure and commercial goods.
With its high strength-to-weight ratio, we see aluminum being at the heart of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. If steel were the primary material used, skyscrapers would’ve weighed much more and would require more maintenance and additional construction costs. Consumer electronics and home appliances are other areas where aluminum takes the reins of durable and cost-effective manufacturing. Washers and dryers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, and other electronics are more reliable, lightweight, and affordable due to the beauty and practicality of aluminum. Aluminum has also contributed to a more effective cooling process for modern refrigerators.
Aluminum’s most remarkable contribution has been in aircraft construction, allowing for better safety and fuel efficiency. Its ductility and resistance to corrosion have enabled spacecraft to be lightweight and less prone to malfunction. Cargo ships have also benefited from aluminum’s versatility and durability since it allows more weight to be loaded without compromising strength. Aluminum is also the go-to material for car manufacturers. With significant environmental advantages and increased strength, cars can be lighter, more agile, and easily recycled.
From ancient times to modern civilization, aluminum has served as the bedrock of many construction and manufacturing projects that improve the economy and more importantly our way of living. To better evaluate the great impact of aluminum in our daily lives, it’s essential to understand the uses of three high-strength aluminum materials. These are aluminum coil, aluminum sheet, and aluminum plate.
Aluminum coil is a widespread material with many performance advantages. High corrosion resistance and weldability make it ideal for aircraft, transportation, and electrical closure applications. In a more general sense, aluminum coil is often chosen as the go-to metal for many purposes, such as packaging and decoration, especially in beverage, food, cosmetics, medicine, and tobacco industries. In packaging, aluminum is more particularly used in metal can, lid, bottle, and barrel manufacturing.
In architectural decoration, aluminum coil plays an important role because of its light weight but durable properties. It is preferred for building windows, doors, ceilings, and other decorative surfaces in residential and commercial entities. Many also might not know that aluminum coil is the primary material used to build air conditioners, cables, and other electrical components.
As a recyclable and conductive material, aluminum sheets can be a great choice for boats and other marine structures, kitchen appliances, and cooking equipment as well as various automotive parts. However, aluminum sheets are a core component of aircraft due to their seamless finish and machinability. Usually, high-strength aluminum sheets are used to manufacture upper and lower wing panels, purlins, and partitions.
There are several other applications where aluminum comes into play and contributes to perfect anodization and performance. Most people are unaware of aluminum’s use in metal nameplates. In this case, corrosion resistance and lightweight composition are critical aluminum factors that lead to minimal maintenance. This abundant metal is also widely used for license plates dues to its affordability.
Considered the most heavy-duty aluminum product, aluminum plate is used in transportation product manufacturing, military services, and aerospace. With high resistance to extremely cold temperatures, aluminum plate is usually used as the shield of spacecraft fuel tanks, jets, and large storage tanks. Aluminum plates can also be found in structural sections for ships and railcars and can also serve as armor for military vehicles.
Aluminum’s unbeatable strength and light weight make it suitable for multiple applications in daily life. Ultimately, picking the right grade, alloy, or temper depends on your exact business needs and how aluminum can provide the best benefits to the manufacturing and building process.