Advantages of using Aluminum

A unique combination of properties makes aluminum and its alloys one of the most versatile engineering and construction materials available today.
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Aluminum is one of the lightest available commercial metals with a density approximately one third that of steel or copper.  Its high strength to weight ratio makes it particularly important to transportation industries allowing increased payloads and fuel savings. Catamaran ferries, petroleum tankers and aircraft are good examples of aluminum’s use in transport.  In other fabrications, aluminum’s lightweight can reduce the need for special handling or lifting equipment.
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Aluminum has excellent resistance to corrosion due to the thin layer of aluminum oxide that forms on the surface of aluminum when it is exposed to air.  In many applications, aluminum can be left in the mill finished condition. Should additional protection or decorative finishes be required, then aluminum can be either anodized or painted.
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Where as steel becomes brittle at low temperatures, aluminum increases in tensile strength and retains excellent toughness.
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Aluminum is an excellent reflector of radiant energy through the entire range of wave lengths. From ultra-violet through the visible spectrum to infra-red and heat waves, as well as electromagnetic waves such as radio and radar.  Aluminum has a light reflectivity of over 80% which has led to its wide use in lighting fixtures.  These reflectivity characteristics also lead to its use as an insulating material. For example, aluminum roofing reflects a high percentage of the sun’s heat, promoting a cool interior atmosphere in summer, yet insulating against heat loss in winter.
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Aluminum has non-magnetic properties which make it useful for electrical shielding such as busbar or magnetic compass housings.  Other applications include computer disks and parabolic antennas.
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The fact that aluminum is essentially non-toxic was discovered in the early days of the industry. It is this characteristic which enables the metal to be used in cooking utensils without any harmful effect on the body.  Aluminum with its smooth surface is easily cleaned, promoting a hygienic environment for food processing.  Aluminum foil wrapping and containers are used extensively and safely in direct contact with food products.
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Attractive appearance together with high resistance to weathering and low maintenance requirements have led to extensive use in buildings of all types. High reflectivity, excellent weathering characteristics, and light weight are all important in roofing materials.  Light weight contributes to low handling and shipping cost whatever the application.  Many applications require the extreme versatility which only aluminum possesses.  Almost daily, unique combinations of these properties are being put to work in new ways.