Key properties of Aluminium
Aluminium is very reactive with oxygen, either in air or water and this is the property that makes it corrosion resistant. The reaction with oxygen forms a compact oxide layer on the aluminium surface which acts as a protective layer preventing corrosion in most circumstances. Aluminium will still corrode under certain circumstances, the most common types being atmospheric corrosion, galvanic corrosion, pitting and crevice corrosion.
Corrosion resistance can be enhanced with surface treatments such as anodising, painting or powder coating.
Low density is one of the most important characteristics of aluminium. The strength to weight ratio of aluminium is high, it is approximately one third of the weight of steel, making it ideal for applications requiring strong but lightweight materials. These include aircraft manufacturing, automotive uses and architecture.
Machinability and formability
Aluminium is flexible and easily formed through various processes including rolling, drawing and extrusion. Generally, aluminium is easy to work into complex shapes from one piece of extruded aluminium without mechanical joinery. Some applications using aluminium components created through this method include heat exchangers, and refrigeration tubing, parts for nuclear facilities and parts for the International Space Station.
Not magnetisable and excellent electrical conductivity
One of the most valuable properties of aluminium is that it is not magnetisable, so it can be used in high voltage applications. It is used in long distance electricity lines, electronics and for shielding electronic devices.
Very reflective of light and heat
Aluminium is a good reflector of both light and heat, this makes it an ideal material for reflectors in light fittings, light shades, insulation, food packaging and rescue blankets.
Impermeable and Odourless
Aluminium, even when rolled very thin, is completely impermeable to light, aroma and taste. It is also non-toxic making it ideal for packaging sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals or food.
Aluminium is 100% recyclable with no loss of qualities, making it a permanent material. The re-melting of aluminium requires only around 5% of the energy required to produce the original material.
All of these qualities vary between the aluminium grades, so it is important to do a bit of research to understand them and enable you to choose the right one for your application.
LASER CUTTING ALUMINIUM
Aluminium is a little more difficult to cut than steel, copper and brass because it is softer and more reflective. It is a bit more prone to burr if the cut settings are not right, but our laser cutting experience coupled with our investment in Trumpf fibre laser machines means that we can provide you with the best quality laser cut aluminium components.
We laser cut aluminium from as thin as 0.5mm up to as thick as 20mm, find out more on our aluminium page. If you would like to place an order, or have any queries, please contact our sales team at email@example.com.