Characteristics of aluminum: not only mechanical properties
Aluminum is a material with multiple characteristics, but before list them it is good to emphasize that it is the third most abundant element in the Earth, being produced from bauxite which makes up about 8 percent of the planet’s surface. In addition to having such a wide diffusion, aluminum can also be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its properties and, as if that were not enough, the production of recycled aluminum is also much more convenient, both economically and energetically, than to the production of the primary material.
Among the many characteristics of aluminum there are:
- lightness: for the same volume it weighs 1/3 of copper and steel
- resistance to corrosion: in contact with air, oxidation creates a protective film
- malleability and ductility: it can be easily workable if subjected to high or low temperatures
- thermal, electrical and sound conductivity: it conducts heat, electricity and sound in an excellent way
- reflective capacity: it reduces the dispersion of light by reflecting the ones it receives
Thanks to its multiple characteristics, aluminum has several applications. It is in fact used in construction for both industrial and aesthetic purposes; in the mechanical, aeronautical and automotive industries, for the manufacture of parts for airplanes, railway carriages and motor vehicles. It is also used in the naval sector, for the production of boats hulls and other aquatic vehicles, and is often used in place of copper in the transmission of high voltages over long distances. The use of aluminum in the food sector where it is used for the manufacture of containers, packaging and cans is also particularly important. Finally, it should not be forgotten that this material is often used in the form of alloys as these have better mechanical properties than pure metal.