Properties of aluminium
Aluminium is one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust. It was not known in ancient times: only in 1854, when H. Sainte-Claire Deville started to produce...
is one of the most abundant elements to be found in the earth's crust. It was not known in ancient times, it was only in 1854 when the Frenchman Henri Sainte Claire Deville of France was the first to start producing aluminium on industrial scale; in fact aluminium
, does not exist in nature or in the pure state.
production process is carried out by extracting alumina from bauxite, by purification, while the metal is obtained in a second phase via electrolysis.
Thanks to its characteristics, aluminium
is, after iron, the most widely diffused metal
, with an annual production of about 31 million tons. Normally it is not used in the pure state, rather in alloys
, which are better placed to enhance its enormous basic merits.
Aluminium has a particularly lightweight: it only weighs a third of steel for the same volume, therefore it is possible to achieve appreciable savings in weight in almost all types of applications
above all mechanical.
Aluminium, thanks to its capacity to develop a rust-proof film on the exposed surface, is not subject to atmospheric corrosion problems, normally associated with iron and copper; nor does it require any protective coating. Thanks to this, it is highly suitable for architectural and shipbuilding applications as well as for the doors and windows
and curtain walls.
Aluminium exhibits optimum specific electrical conductivity which makes it essential for electronics and electrical applications. In fact aluminium allows building long lines with aluminium cables able to carry electrical current to double the extent possible with copper caves of the same weight. It is also suitable for heating and cooling applications.
Aluminium is a non toxic material widely used for containing foodstuffs and beverages.
Aluminium is easy to work and can be formed with all the well known processing
techniques more easily than most other metals. It can be forged, rolled until obtaining a very fine sheet, while it can be extruded into complex profiles
The possibility of using the metal in alloys, which can either be rigid or flexible, especially rugged or resistant to corrosion, allows adapting aluminium to a whole host of needs.
Aluminium is easy to recycle with favourable energy cost: currently a quarter of European aluminium requirements is met by using the remelted metal which, in turn, can be recycled without limit.