Introduction

Aluminium was first discovered by Hans Oersted in 1825 and has since become one of the most widely used metals in the world. Its properties as a soft, malleable and lightweight metal make it ideal for an array of different applications.

Aluminium (Al) is in Group 13 of the Periodic Table of Elements and displays the following key features:

  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Conductive
  • Malleable

These properties make it a fantastic choice for a wide range of sectors and industries. Today, let’s take a look at 3 common uses for aluminium!

Common Aluminium Applications

1 – Aeronautics

Aluminium has been widely used in aerospace industry since the Wright brothers’ first successful flight on December 17th, 1903.

Although on its own, aluminium is not particularly a strong metal, it can be made into alloys with extraordinary strength-to-weight ratios. This property makes the metal popular in aeronautical engineering, since every kilo of weight is pivotal is aeroplane design and production. Alloys which are commonplace in aeronautics include 2024, 5052, 6061 and 7075.

7075 alloy utilises zinc as its main alloying element and was first developed for use in the fuselage of the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter during the Second World War. It has been utilised extensively in the industry ever since.

2 – Electrical Transmission

Despite being a good electrical conductor used in the creation of electric circuits, aluminium is sometimes shirked in favour of copper. Copper’s unrivalled conductivity has long made it the go-to metal in terms of electrical circuitry. However, aluminium holds several advantages over copper.

Aluminium may only have two-thirds of the conductivity of copper, but it is also considerably lighter. This allows a bare wire of the silvery metal to provide the same electrical resistance whilst weighing only 50% of the copper wire.

Its weight and cost savings make aluminium the metal of choice for the production of overhead transmission lines.

3 – Architecture

Its outstanding strength-to-weight ratio makes aluminium the perfect choice for many architectural applications. Due to its lighter weight, lengths of the metal can be affixed to structures using much fewer fixings than comparable steel alternatives.

Aluminium also offers a high resistance to corrosion, delivering a finish that is at once reliably uniform and aesthetically pleasing. The application of an anodised treatment accentuates these natural physical properties and can keep buildings looking their best.

This metal is also extremely versatile when used in construction. Its heat conducting and malleable properties make aluminium ideal for use in frameworks as extrusion and in cladding as sheet.

Conclusion

For almost 200 years, aluminium has been used extensively in the worlds of design, engineering and manufacturing. This includes widespread use throughout the aerospace, electrical and architectural sectors. Its diverse set of properties mean it’s sure to be at the forefront of these industries for many more years to come.

Simmal is an established UK provider of aluminium products including extrusion and individual components. Why not get in touch? Browse our wide selection online today or contact our team on 01772 324 277 to discuss your project’s individual requirements.

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