If you have ever tried to stick a magnet to a can of soda, you already know that aluminum is different from many other metals. In fact, it is ubiquitous in the earth’s crust but rarely found in pure form in nature. It wasn’t widely used until about 1940, when aluminum electrolysis was developed. Today, aluminum is used in everything from cooking gourmet cuisine to building planes, trains and automobiles. But what are the benefits of aluminum? Read below to learn more and to find out how custom aluminum extrusion could be vital to the success of your next project.
It’s lightweight—Aluminum weighs less by volume than most other metals. In fact, it is about one-third the weight of iron, steel, copper, or brass. This makes it easier to handle and less expensive to ship.
It’s strong—Aluminum profiles can be made as strong as needed for most applications. Cold-weather applications are particularly well-served by aluminum because, as temperatures fall, aluminum actually becomes stronger.
It’s non-corrosive—Aluminum does not rust. It’s protected by its own naturally occurring oxide film, a protection that can be further enhanced by anodizing or other finishing techniques.
It conducts heat—Based on weight and overall cost, aluminum conducts heat (and cold) better than other common metals. These factors make it ideal for applications requiring heat exchangers.
It’s non-sparking—Aluminum doesn’t emit sparks. This makes it a great choice in applications that involve explosive materials or that are used in highly flammable environments.
It conducts electricity—Bulk power transmissions generally take place via aluminum because, pound-for-pound, aluminum is twice as conductive as copper.
It’s nonmagnetic—Because aluminum does not acquire a magnetic charge, it’s useful for high-voltage applications, as well as for electronics, especially where magnetic fields come into play or where sensitive magnetic devices are employed.
It’s resilient—Aluminum combines strength with flexibility and can flex under loads or spring back from the shock of impact.
It’s reflective—Highly reflective aluminum can be used to shield products or areas from light, radio waves, or infrared radiation.
It’s non-combustible—Aluminum does not burn and, even at extremely high temperatures, it does not produce toxic fumes.
It’s recyclable—Aluminum retains a high scrap value. It can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its superior characteristics.
It accepts finishes—Aluminum can be finished with a variety of common techniques, including liquid paint, powder coatings, anodizing, or electroplating.
It’s seamless—With aluminum, complex shapes can be realized in one-piece extruded sections without having to use mechanical joining methods. This makes the parts stronger and less likely to leak or loosen over time.