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What are Aluminium Beams?

Aluminium beam is an I-Beam formed from aluminium; it is typically used in applications that require strength but where weight is a significant consideration. Due to aluminium’s light weight, especially when compared to other structural beams (such as steel), the final product or structure’s weight is greatly reduced.

This type of beam also carries a significant advantage when it comes to corrosion resistance over steel structural beams.

There are two types of aluminium beam:

  • Aluminium Association
  • American Standard

What is the difference between these two beam types?

American Standard beams are I-Beams with more traditional tapering in the flanges and rounded edges. These beams, often referred to as Standard I-Beams, typically have narrow flanges.

Aluminium Association beam is an I-Beam with thicker flanges than Standard I-Beams and are straight rather than tapered.

How are aluminium beams made?

Aluminium beams are manufactured using extrusion, where metal billets are forced through a die to create the desired long shapes – this can be done heated or at room temperature, depending on the specific requirements.

After passing through the die, a worker will often anodise or temper the beam. Anodising is a chemical application that ensures a strong, chemically bonded outer oxide layer is present to prevent corrosion; tempering is a heat treatment process that increases the beam’s strength.

Depending on the final use, you would cut to size or bolt, rivet or weld together the final lengths.

What are their applications?

Aluminium beams are structural beams designed to support themselves over a long span.

However, the most defining factor of an aluminium beam is its relatively low weight. For an aluminium beam to share the strength of a steel I-Beam, it would have to be much larger but weigh only half as much.

As such, an aluminium beam is best suited for applications that require materials with moderate strength and low weight.

The American Standard beam is typically used in the building and construction industry. Typical applications include structural components for commercial sites and residential homes such as rafters, awnings, trailers, overhead supports and walkways.

Aluminium Association beam products tend to be more versatile as the thicker, straight-edged flanges allow for easier connections and fitting. These can be used in structural components, but can also serve as the foundational material for frames, brackets, base plates and machine parts.

Metal Supermarkets


Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with 125 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 8 locations in the United Kingdom today.

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