Aluminium is used in many different ways in the construction industry. Its popularity is down to many different factors. These include:
• Long life
• Resistance to corrosion
• Low weight
• Low cost
The flexibility of aluminium makes it possible to extrude the metal into many different forms and shapes. That makes it an ideal metal to manufacture things like windows and doors in many different styles. Windows and doors must be able to withstand extremes of weather, and aluminium is perfect for this. Additionally, its strength makes it difficult for burglars to penetrate, so it provides a high level of protection.
Aluminium is an element, and one of the most common elements found on the earth. That makes it so much cheaper than other elements, including copper. Copper has long been used as the metal of choice in the manufacture of electrical wiring, but aluminium is increasingly replacing copper in wiring.
Even though aluminium is only half as conductive as copper, it is three times lighter. That means that the weight of wiring with aluminium core is lower than copper wiring made to carry the same electrical load. As a result, support structures for aluminium wiring do not need to be a strong as those for copper wiring, bringing their cost down.
Because alumium is so plentiful, the basic cost is not as prone to large price fluctuations as other metals. In contrast, the price of copper makes its scrap value quite high, and it is a target for thieves. Theft of vital copper cabling in electrical subs-stations, along railway lines, and in other critical areas, has become widespread. Aluminium cabling is much less attractive to thieves, so its use in critical electrical installations is growing rapidly.
Better fire resistance
Many metals will burn, unlike aluminium, which is actually a non-combustible metal. This feature, alongside its very low weight, makes it an excellent choice for use in supported or suspended structures like roofs and ceilings. If these structures are made from heavier materials and they collapse during a fire, their weight can cause extensive damage to the underlying building, often causing internal floors to collapse as well. If aluminium is used, the chances of this happening are greatly reduced.
Aluminium also has a very high melting point at about 650 degrees (centigrade), so it remains stable in all but the most serious fires. Furthermore, if the temperature gets above 650 degrees and the aluminium starts to melt, it does so without emitting toxic fumes.
Using aluminium in the construction industry reduces CO2 emissions. It takes less energy to mine, manufacture, extrude and transport aluminium than it does for other metals. It has superior insulation qualities, which reduces the energy needed to heat or cool those buildings that use it.
There is no need to apply environmentally hazardous anti-corrosion chemicals or paint to aluminium surfaces. The only maintenance required in normal usage is to clean it occasionally. Aluminium is very recyclable, with some experts estimating that as much as 40% of new products made from aluminium come from recycled metal.