Aluminium

Pure aluminium is soft, ductile, and corrosion resistant and has a high electrical conductivity. It is widely used for foil and conductor cables, but alloying with other elements is necessary to provide the higher strengths needed for other applications. Aluminium is one of the lightest engineering metals, having a strength to weight ratio far superior to steel.

Typical applications:

  • Facades
  • Balconies
  • Balustrades
  • Cladding
  • Light fittings
  • Baking trays

Physical Properties

Aluminium has a density around one third that of steel or copper making it one of the lightest commercially available metals. The resultant high strength to weight ratio makes it an important structural material allowing increased payloads or fuel savings for transport industries in particular.

Pure aluminium doesn’t have a high tensile strength. However, the addition of alloying elements like manganese, silicon, copper and magnesium can increase the strength properties of aluminium and produce an alloy with properties tailored to particular applications.

When exposed to air, a layer of aluminium oxide forms almost instantaneously on the surface of aluminium. This layer has excellent resistance to corrosion. It is fairly resistant to most acids but less resistant to alkalis.

Common Grades

1000 series

1000 series aluminium alloys are the purest grades commercially available.
Aluminium alloy 1050, is the most common grade of Aluminium we come across and is used in a variety of products from Baking to Balustrades. Alloy 1050 is known for its excellent corrosion resistance, highly reflective finish and is the most superior alloy in terms of workability. It paints and powder coats well but other grades are generally chosen where anodising is required. A favourite project of ours involved the perforation of 1050 aluminium panels for the balconies of apartments in the Abbey Area development project.

5000 series
5000 series alloys utilise Magnesium as the main alloying element. They have the highest strength of non-heat treatable alloys and furthermore, are suitable for welding. For this reason you will often find 5000 series alloys used in ship building, bridges and buildings. A recent project we completed for the tallest modular building in the world involved the use of a 5000 series grade aluminium due to the need for our decorative balcony panels to form part of the structure.

6000 Series
6000 series alloys utilise Magnesium and Silicon as the core alloying elements. Because of this they can be heat treated and are often used in fabrications that will form the part of a structure. As they can be heat treated, many of these grades are a lot stronger than 5000 series alloys.