Aluminum is often referred to as a “miracle metal”. Its long list of inherent properties – lightweight, corrosion resistant, flexible, highly conductive, highly reflective, non-toxic, durable and recyclable – gives manufacturers and designers a wide range of options for product development. Manufactured commercially for just over 100 years, aluminum is a relatively new industrial metal.
Aluminum: The Most Interesting Metal
With that in mind, we’d like to share a few interesting facts:
- It is the most abundant mineral on Earth after oxygen and silicon. By mass it represents 8% of the earth’s crust, however, it was not discovered until 1824, as it only occurs naturally in compounds, not as a pure metal.
- Aluminum is also referred to as “aluminium”. While the spelling differs, the words hold the same meaning.
- Aluminum is globally the most used metal that does not contain iron. In 2017, six million metric tons were used for U.S. consumption.
- It’s no exaggeration to say that aluminum helped pioneer modern flight. Aluminum is strong but lightweight, weighing about 1/3 the weight of steel or copper. The Wright brothers made key parts of their biplane’s engine out of aluminum because no manufacturer could provide an engine light enough with the needed horsepower.
- Aluminum is a green metal. Recycling aluminum requires only five percent of the energy that extracting it from ore requires, according to the EPA. Recycle a single soda can made from aluminum and you save enough energy to run your TV for three hours.
- About 75% of all aluminum ever made is still in use, thanks to recycling. An aluminum Coke can takes as little as 60 days to return as a new can after recycling.
- Aluminum is highly reflective and is used for tubing in the manufacturing of telescopes.
- Rubies are aluminum oxide crystals with a few atoms replaced by chromium atoms.
- The moon contains aluminum.
- In fine powder or dust form, aluminum can be highly combustible when it reacts with other chemicals. It is used to produce silver and white colored fireworks or sparklers. Solid rocket boosters, including the engines on the space shuttle and model rockets, use aluminum as their primary fuel.
- Aluminum was known as the “Metal of Kings” in the mid 19th century and was more precious than gold. Napoleon III gave aluminum cutlery to his most honored guests; all the other guests had to eat off plates of gold or silver.
- Aluminum is super flexible. Pound for pound, the capability of aluminum in absorbing crash energy is two times that of steel, and hence, crash rails of vehicles are usually made of aluminum.
Aluminum Metal Fabrication
Aluminum is an astounding substance, and we see an awful lot of it. As respected metal fabricators, we understand the properties and uses of the metal extremely well. If you need aluminum sheets or extrusions cut, Naimor is your number one aluminum fabricator.