Physically, chemically and mechanically aluminium is a metal like steel, brass, copper, zinc, lead or titanium. It can be melted, cast, formed and machined much like these metals and it conducts electric current. In fact often the same equipment and fabrication methods are used as for steel.
Aluminium is a very light metal with a specific weight of 2.7 g/cm3, about a third that of steel. For example, the use of aluminium in vehicles reduces dead-weight and energy consumption while increasing load capacity. Its strength can be adapted to the application required by modifying the composition of its alloys.
Aluminium naturally generates a protective oxide coating and is highly corrosion resistant. Different types of surface treatment such as anodising, painting or lacquering can further improve this property. It is particularly useful for applications where protection and conservation are required.
Electrical and Thermal Conductivity
Aluminium is an excellent heat and electricity conductor and in relation to its weight is almost twice as good a conductor as copper. This has made aluminium the most commonly used material in major power transmission lines.
Aluminium is a good reflector of visible light as well as heat, and that together with its low weight, makes it an ideal material for reflectors in, for example, light fittings or rescue blankets.
Aluminium is ductile and has a low melting point and density. In a molten condition it can be processed in a number of ways. Its ductility allows products of aluminium to be basically formed close to the end of the product’s design.
Impermeable and Odourless
Aluminium foil, even when it is rolled to only 0.007 mm thickness, is still completely impermeable and lets neither light aroma nor taste substances out. Moreover, the metal itself is non-toxic and releases no aroma or taste substances which makes it ideal for packaging sensitive products such as food or pharmaceuticals.
Aluminium is 100 percent recyclable with no downgrading of its qualities. The re-melting of aluminium requires little energy: only about 5 percent of the energy required to produce the primary metal initially is needed in the recycling process.