7% of the parts we laser cut are aluminium, that’s 3% by weight.
From drinks cans and food packaging to electrical wiring and plane fuselages, countless products are made of aluminium. It is a silvery-white metal with a bluish tint, the pure metal is soft, but it can be made stronger and harder when alloyed. It is malleable, so lends itself to being shaped and bent and it can be beaten into very thin sheets. Alongside steel, it is one of the world’s most widely used metals.
We’ve put together some facts about the production and uses of aluminium that might interest you:
- Aluminium is the most abundant metal on Earth, it makes up 8.2% of the Earth’s crust and is the third most common element after oxygen (46%) and silicon (28%).
- In 1886, Paul Heroult and Charles Hall both independently invented a method of producing 99.5% pure aluminium from aluminium oxide. A version of the Hall-Heroult process is still used today.
- Australia is the world’s leading producer of bauxite, the raw material from which aluminium is produced.
- Aluminium is around a one-third of the weight of steel, which is why it has been one of the main materials used to build aircraft since the beginning of aviation, having been used in Zeppelin frames in the late 19th Century.
- Aluminium resists corrosion, it oxidises in the same way that iron rusts, but unlike iron, the resulting oxide sticks to the surface and protects it. Because of its high likelihood of binding with oxygen, pure aluminium is almost never found in nature.
- The reflective properties of aluminium apply to both heat and light, making it excellent for lighting as it reduces energy consumption and increasing efficiency.
- The impermeable properties of aluminium make it excellent for food containers and cooking. It does not react with food, retains heat and is completely and widely recyclable.
- Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to extract it from ore. About 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use.
If your project requires the corrosion resistance, lightness, malleability and recyclability of aluminium, take a look at the grades and finishes we laser cut and supply. You can contact our sales team with orders by email at email@example.com, or with any other queries, call us on 01376 327182.