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Most Common Uses of Aluminium


Aluminium is the third most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element overall.

No other metal can compare to Aluminium when it comes to its variety of uses. Some uses of aluminium may not be immediately obvious; for example, did you know aluminium is used in the manufacturing of glass?

Aluminium is incredibly popular because it is:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Durable
  • Ductile
  • Malleable
  • Conductive
  • Odorless

Aluminium is also theoretically 100% recyclable with no loss of its natural properties. It also takes 5% of the energy to recycle scrap aluminium then what is used to produce new aluminium.

The Most Common Uses of Aluminium

The most common uses of aluminium include:

  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Electrical
  • Consumer Goods

Transportation

Aluminium is used in transportation because of its unbeatable strength to weight ratio. Its lighter weight means that less force is required to move the vehicle, leading to greater fuel efficiency. Although aluminium is not the strongest metal, alloying it with other metals helps to increase its strength. Its corrosion resistance is an added bonus, eliminating the need for heavy and expensive anti-corrosion coatings.

While the auto industry still relies heavily on steel, the drive to increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions has led to a much wider use of aluminium. Experts predict that the average aluminium content in a car will increase by 60% by 2025.

Aluminium Shinkanses E^
The Shinkanses E6

High-speed rail systems like the Shinkansen in Japan and the Maglev in Shanghai also use aluminium. The metal allows designers to reduce the weight of the trains, cutting down on friction resistance.

Aluminium is also known as the ‘winged metal’ because it is ideal for aircraft; again, due to being light, strong and flexible. In fact, aluminium was used in the frames of Zeppelin airships before airplanes had even been invented. Today, modern aircraft use aluminium alloys throughout, from the fuselage to the cockpit instruments. Even spacecraft, such as space shuttles, contain 50% to 90% of aluminium alloys in their parts.

Construction

Buildings made with aluminium are virtually maintenance free due to aluminium’s resistance to corrosion. Aluminium is also thermally efficient, which keeps homes warm in winter and cool in summer. Add the fact that aluminium has a pleasing finish and can be curved, cut and welded to any desired shape, it allows modern architects unlimited freedom to create buildings that would be impossible to make from wood, plastic, or steel.

Aluminium London Aquatics Centre
The London Aquatics Centre

The first building in which aluminium was widely used was the Empire State Building in New York, built in 1931. Today, aluminium is regularly used in the construction of high-rise buildings and bridges. The lighter weight of aluminium makes it easier, faster and more convenient to work with. It also helps reduce other costs. A building constructed of steel would require much deeper foundations due to the added weight, which would drive up construction costs.

Notable modern buildings made from aluminium include the Bank of China headquarters in Hong Kong and Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Centre in London.

Electrical

Although it has just 63% of the electrical conductivity of copper, aluminium’s low density makes it the best option for long distance power lines. If copper was used, support structures would be heavier, more numerous, and more expensive. Aluminium is also more ductile than copper, enabling it to be formed into wires much more easily. Lastly, its corrosion-resistance helps protect wires from the elements.

In addition to power lines and cables, aluminium is used in motors, appliances, and power systems. Television antennae and satellite dishes, even some LED bulbs are made of aluminium.

Consumer Goods

Aluminium’s appearance is the reason it is used frequently in consumer goods.

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and flat screen TVs are being made with an increasing amount of aluminium. Its appearance makes modern tech gadgets look sleek and sophisticated while being light and durable. It is the perfect combination of form and function which is critical for consumer products. More and more, aluminium is replacing plastic and steel components, as it is stronger and tougher than plastic and lighter than steel. It also allows heat to dissipate quickly, keeping electronic devices from overheating.

aluminium macbook
Apples’ Macbook

Apple uses predominantly aluminium parts in its iPhones and MacBooks. Other hi-end electronics brands like audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen also heavily favor aluminium.

Interior designers enjoy using aluminium as it’s easy to shape and looks great. Furniture items made from aluminium include tables, chairs, lamps, picture frames and decorative panels.

Of course, the foil in your kitchen is aluminium, as well as pots and frying pans which are frequently made from aluminium. These Aluminium products conduct heat well, are non-toxic, resistant to rust, and are easy to clean.

Aluminium cans are used to package food and beverages. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been using aluminium cans since 1967.


Metal Supermarkets

metal

Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with over 100 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985.

At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, tool steel, engineering steel, brass, bronze and copper.

We carry a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets and plates. We can cut metal to your exact specifications.

Visit one of our 7 locations in the United Kingdom today.

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