Aluminium in The Building and Construction Industries – Aluminium’s High Strength-to-Weight Ratio Applications

Aluminium is a product with unique properties, making it a natural partner for the building industry. Thanks to its strength, durability, corrosion resistance and recyclability, it has become an essential product for the building industry and over the past 50 years its use in building applications has shown continuous and consistent growth.

Applications of Aluminium in Construction and Building

Aluminium extruded, rolled, and cast products are commonly used for window frames and other glazed structures ranging from shop fronts to large roof superstructures for shopping centres and stadiums; for roofing, siding, and curtain walling, as well as for cast door handles, catches for windows, staircases, heating and air-conditioning systems. Most recently; aluminium has played a significant role in the renovation of historic buildings. The characteristics and properties of aluminium as a material have lead to revolutionary and innovative changes in building techniques and architectural and engineering projects. Aluminium is leading the way into the future of the construction industry.

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Aluminium’s high strength-to-weight ratio is one of its major advantages in the construction industry. Aluminium has a density of 2.7, which means that it is a third the density of steel. The strength of the metal can be adjusted to suit the application by proper alloying.

Rigidity and Stability in Aluminium Frames

Aluminium components also offer comparably high strength and rigidity, making them particularly suitable for applications such as sash and frames of windows and patio doors. The material’s rigidity ensures that, while slim, aluminium frames remain stable under normal loads. This is particularly valued in high-rise buildings, where stability is an essential property of applications such as facades, cladding and windows.

Aluminium Facades and Cladding

Increasingly, aluminium facades are being used to clad non-residential buildings. Such facades can improve the appearance of a building, increase its durability and provide valuable insulation properties, thereby enhancing the energy efficiency of the construction. The high strength-to-weight ratio of the aluminium is one of the properties that makes it particularly suitable for cladding applications. In addition to reducing the cost of transporting aluminium equipment, the materials light weight makes it easier to handle on site. Rolled panels with a specific weight of 2 to 3kg/m3 can be mounted by hand, obviating the need for heavy equipment. But in spite of its weight advantages, aluminium offers strength properties comparable with those of alternative metal facade panels. In addition, the material’s light weight and high strength results in a low load on the supporting structure of buildings. The dimensions of this structure can therefore be reduced. Such an advantage is particularly important in the case of curtain walls for high rise buildings.

Source: The European Aluminium Association.

For more information on this source please visit The European Aluminium Association.

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