Ever since it was discovered in the 1800â€™s wherever the strength of steel was not required, aluminium has been the preferred choice and continues to be the preferred metal to work with in the building industry.
How aluminium came to be so widely used
Of all the metal used in the construction industry, steel comes first and aluminium second. Australia uses almost 175,000 tonnes of aluminium per year. Of this about 30,000 tonnes is used in the form of aluminium extruded products, and another 12,000 tonnes in the form of aluminium sheets. These sheets get pressed into a large variety of end products ranging from aluminium seats to small aluminium boxes.
Within the construction industry, aluminium is used in the making of roofing, windows, cladding, structural glazing, curtain walling, etc. It is used in prefabricated buildings, H & V, architectural hardware, shop fitting and partition making. One of the most extensive uses of aluminium is in the factory, making of ladders and scaffolding for buildings. Almost all ladders for domestic use too are made from aluminium.
Pure aluminium is used only in the manufacture of electrical cables â€“ the heavy voltage wires you see all over the countryside. Several thick strands are woven together to form a thick cable. Aluminium used in most other places and products, requires it to be alloyed for strength. The construction industry therefore uses either the 5000 series work-hardened magnesium alloys or the 6000 series heat-treatable magnesium silicone alloys. The difference between the two is that the latter is used in the making of odd shapes because it can be more easily bent (purer form of aluminium).
When we say aluminium is soft, we mean it is soft in comparison to other metals such as iron or steel. Despite its softness, aluminium is incredibly strong and it can take pressures of up to 26 tonnes per sq inch. Aluminium also has good forming and joining characteristics, is corrosion resistant and a high surface finish can be achieved.
Aluminium â€“ Building material of the modern age
If we look around at the buildings today, we find an incredible range of construction designs, shapes and sizes. The secret is aluminium. Aluminium allows the engineers and architects to implement every possible building concept. Possible applications for aluminium range from roofs, faĂ§ades and all types of walls. Aluminium is also used in interior decoration and designs for human living. Its rust-proof characteristics have enabled aluminium to be used in doors, windows and balconies. It is used in modern windows and for surface treatment, soundproofing, thermal insulation, solar heating and air conditioning.
In recent years the number of dealers in aluminium products in Australia has jumped three-fold. Now buying aluminium products is a mere matter of picking up the phone or surfing the net for websites such as this.
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