What is Aluminium?
Being the Earth’s most abundant metal, it’s no surprise that aluminium is becoming increasingly popular. It is now used in many different industries such as rail, manufacturing, aerospace and engineering.
Studies from the International Aluminium Institute estimate that nearly 600 thousand metric tonnes of aluminium were produced in Europe for February 2018. But have you ever thought about where aluminium comes from and why it is used globally?
Even though there are copious amounts of aluminium in the Earth’s crust, we do not obtain it as a solid metal, instead we mine for Aluminium Ore, which is called Bauxite.
From Rock to Metal
From the raw material Bauxite, we can extract Aluminium Oxide which is heated, filtered and dried to produce a white powder.
Now you may be wondering – how is it possible that a fine powder then becomes a solid material?
Well, a process takes place in which three crucial materials react together: Aluminium Oxide (the white powder), Electricity and Carbon. The result: liquid aluminium is created. This can then be casted to produce a solid shape, such as ingots and alloys.
So, why is aluminium one of the most commonly used metals?
As Light as a Feather…
Aluminium is a lightweight material when compared to other metals, like steel and iron. That’s one of the main reasons that it is used within the transportation industry, especially with the Automotive and Aerospace industry. Planes, trains and automobiles are designed to be quick, so a lightweight material is essential.
Strength and Resilience
With one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios, aluminium can be dented on impact but can also absorb the force of it. Furthermore, the natural oxide coating on the surface provides a corrosive resistance, especially from air, water and chemicals. Through anodising and powder coating, this can be strengthened further.
Electrical and Thermal Conductivity
With the ability to conduct heat, this is another reason why aluminium is popular in the automotive industry, especially when it comes to the production of engine parts. Also, it can conduct twice as much electricity as copper, making aluminium a popular choice of material when manufacturing major power transmission lines.
With these factors considered, aluminium is the perfect candidate across a range of processing methods, like machining, welding, forming and extruding.
At Neville Precision Engineering, we take pride in providing complete solutions for aluminium extrusions to produce durable and reliable products each time. We have a range of services available, such as CNC Machining and Section Bending, in which we will work closely with each of our customers to meet their requirements.
If you would like to find out more, then please don’t hesitate to contact us via e-mail or call 01773 819237 for more details.« Back to Blog