Since it was first discovered 200 years ago, aluminium alloy has been vastly used for different types of construction and structural applications, especially after a series of technological development. Second to steel, aluminium is a commodity in construction projects, be it for commercial buildings or domestic dwellings. In the United Kingdom alone, it is estimated that, about 40% or roughly around 150,000 tons of aluminium is used annually.
We often see them in architectural hardware, cladding, curtain walling, roofing, windows, structural glazing, partitions, shop fitting, scaffolding, ladders, etc. But why is it so popular? Is it really the more dependable and practical choice? Let’s dig deeper into the properties and benefits of aluminium alloy to understand this material better.
Properties and Benefits of Aluminium
Aluminium is corrosion-resistant, weather-proof, and invincible against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This ensures optical performance and longer serviceable lifetime.
Flexibility in Design
Extrusion of aliminium offers almost unlimited options for design, allowing architects and engineers designers to integrate many different functions in one profile. Manufacturers can easily make different forms and sizes of the material, be it flat, curved, sandwiched with other construction materials, or even shaped into cassettes. Also, aluminium can be easily bent, drilled, riveted, sawed, screwed, soldered, and welded right in building sites, making them more convenient for different types of construction applications.
Literally Hundreds of Different Types of Finishes
There are many different ways to make hundreds of different finishes of aluminium alloy. It can be anodized or painted for different colors, add different optical effects, and use different numbers of surface touches to meet the designer’s decorative requirements. These processes also improve the durability and level of corrosive resistance of the aluminum, and of course, add aesthetic appeal and an easy-to-clean surface.
Also, aluminium generally needs no decorative or protective coating. The surface will suffice even without further furnishing.
This characteristic is what makes aluminum one of the most efficient materials for light management. As a matter of fact, there are aluminum solar collectors that can be installed to bring down energy consumption for artificial lighting and heating during winter. There is also aluminium shading devices which works by reducing the need for air-conditioners during summer.
Apart from being corrosion-resistant and water-proof, aluminum is also non-combustible. Rather, it allows heat and smoke to space, which minimizes damage. It melts at around 650°C without releasing harmful gasses. This is why aluminium alloy is commonly used in cladding panels for external walls and industrial roofs, as they don’t easily melt, even in major fire.
Durable at Low Temperature
Steel becomes brittle at low temperature environment. Aluminum on the other hand, retains its durability as it increase in tensile strength.
For structures that needs optimal security, aluminum can be reinforced to strengthen frames. While glass is generally heavy, the overall weight of aluminium frames with glass remains manageable, thanks to the light frame of aluminum.
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