Aluminium

The Properties of Aluminium

Aluminium has a unique and unbeatable combination of properties that make it a versatile, highly usable and an attractive construction material.

Mass

Aluminium is a light metal with a density of 2,700 kg/m , one 3 third that of steel. (8,400 kg/m )

Strength

Aluminium is strong with a tensile strength between 70 and 700 MPa, depending on the alloy and manufacturing process. Extruions of the right alloy and design can be as strong as structural steel.

Elasticity

The Young's modulus for aluminium (E=69 000 MPa) is a third that of steel. This means that the moment of inertia has to be three times as great for an aluminium extrusion to achieve the same deflection as a steel profile.

Non-toxic

Aluminium is non-toxic and is therefore highly suitable for the preparation and storage of food.

  

Reflectivity

Aluminium is a good reflector of both light and heat.

  

Formability

Aluminium has good formability in both hot and cold condition, a characteristic that is used in full in the extrusion process. Aluminium can also be cast, drawn and rolled.

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Joining

Aluminium can be joined using all the normal methods available such as welding, brazing, adhesive bonding and riveting.

  

Corrosion resistance

A thin layer of oxide is formed when exposed to air. This provides very good protection against corrosion even in corrosive environments. This layer can be further strengthened by surface treatments such as anodising or powder coating.

  

Conductivity

The thermal and electrical conductivities are excellent, even when compared with copper. Furthermore, an aluminium conductor has only half the weight of an equivalent copper conductor.

  

Thermal Conductivity

Aluminium thermal conductivity is half that of the equivalent 3 sized copper element (8 900 kg/m ), but has a density (2 700 3 kg/m ) of less than a third of that of the copper element. The equivalent aluminium element therefore comes at less than half the price and is much easier to handle because of the light weight.

Linear expansion

Aluminium has a relatively high coefficient of linear expansion compared to other metals. This should be taken into account at the design stage to compensate for differences in expansion

Machining

Aluminium is very easy to machine. Ordinary fabrication equipment (saws and drills) and machining equipment (lathes and milling machines) can be used.

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