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Advantages of aluminum & The value in other fields


The extrusion process of aluminum is a robust process that consists of heating and forcing the softened metal through an opening in the shape of a die until the profile emerges. This process allows to take advantage of the qualities of aluminum and offers a larger number of design options. The range of shapes that can be produced by extrusion is almost infinite. Aluminum extrusions are increasingly used in end-user sectors, such as construction, transport, electricity, machinery and consumer goods due to the strength, flexibility, durability and sustainability they offer.

End users profit from the increased comfort offered by these facades, with regard to external conditions, such as temperatures, sun, rain and wind. In addition, the High-Tech trend has a strong influence on how interior spaces are perceived, with ventilation grids, lighting, information and other systems controlled by computers. Aluminum used as a material for coatings and parts makes it easier to harmonize elements such as window frames, rails, doors, gutters, elevator cabins, shelves, lamps and blinds.

A further area of application are kitchens, where aluminum is widely used in base profiles, extraction hoods and other pieces because this metal facilitates cleaning and the transfer of kitchen modules. This applies to the tallest skyscrapers in the world just as much as to office buildings, houses and shopping centers.

The third group of Aluminum consumption is the preparation and conservation of food where it is used for pots and other kitchen implements, food and beverage containers (cans and packages). Even electrical appliances, such as refrigerators, microwaves and ovens are offered in aluminum because its appearance transforms them into beautiful interior design complements.

Extrusions and aluminum laminates are extensively use in the aerospace industry. Its strength increases at low temperatures — a useful quality at high altitudes. By anodizing the main parts of an aircraft, its resistance to corrosion can be increased, protecting it from the weather. This includes the structures of wings, the fuselage and deflector engines. Aluminum laminates are used in both military applications in combat aircraft (the fuselage of the F-16 is 80 % aluminum) and in commercial aviation, where its use is driven by the mechanical requirements of the new generations of aircraft such as the Airbus 350 or the Boeing 787.

Aluminum makes it possible to produce boats with sturdy and rigid structures. Thanks to its ductility it has a greater capacity to absorb deformations without breaking or cracking in case of impacts. If breakage occurs, it can be repaired by being welded. It is also possible to join the different accessories of the cover or the interior directly to its structure without having to drill holes into it, achieving better sealing properties. In addition, aluminum parts suffer less wear and abrasion during transport, launching maneuvers or cleaning. Due to the weight savings, less propulsion is required to achieve the same performance, going easy on engine, consumption and emissions and resulting in economic-environmental advantages.

In the automotive industry, the weight has a significant impact on the performance of the car. In the development of electric cars, it allows the construction of light body frames, and at the same time offers the strength and rigidity required to counteract the weight of the batteries. Aluminum alloys simplify assembly processes while providing better energy absorption properties in case of accidents than any other material. Furthermore, it facilitates the realization of shapes that respond to the growing demand of "sharp edge" designs in automobile exteriors.

The electronics and IT sector has also started to use laminated and extruded components. The electrical industry uses aluminum in high voltage towers, where the power line should be light, flexible, and as economical as possible. In this area, it also offers a high resistance to corrosion and ease of welding, making electrical installations more durable and easier to repair.

Whether it is a frame for a bicycle or a solar panel. Rik Mertens in his article “How the design can influence the quality of the surface clarifies that " if the application has decorative purposes and the product has to be anodized, then the obvious choice is the aluminum alloy 6060. This alloy has a relatively low silicon (Si) content, which is important to obtain a smooth surface. If the profile also has a structural or weight-bearing function, most likely people opt for a 6063 alloy, because of its higher mechanical values.

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