Properties of aluminium
Aluminium offers a rare combination of valuable properties. It is one of the lightest metals in the world: it’s almost three times lighter than iron but it’s also very strong, extremely flexible and corrosion resistant because its surface is always covered in an extremely thin and yet very strong layer of oxide film. It doesn’t magnetise, it’s a great electricity conductor and forms alloys with practically all other metals.
Aluminium can be easily processed using pressure both when it’s hot and when it’s cold. It can be rolled, pulled and stamped. Aluminium doesn’t catch fire, it doesn’t need special paint and unlike plastics it’s not toxic. It’s also very pliable so sheets just 4 microns thick can be made from it, as well as extra thin wire. The extra-thin foil that can be made from aluminium is three times thinner than a human hair. In addition, aluminium is more cost effective than other metals and materials.
Since aluminium easily forms compounds with other chemical elements, a huge variety of aluminium alloys have been developed. Even a very small amount of admixtures can drastically change the properties of the metal, making it possible to use it in new areas. For example, in ordinary life you can find aluminium mixed with silicon and magnesium literally on the road, i.e. in the aluminium alloy wheels, in the engines, chassis and other parts of modern automobiles. As for aluminium zinc alloy, chances are you might be holding it in your hands right now as it’s this alloy that’s widely used in the production of mobile phones and tablet PCs.
The modern construction, automotive, aviation, energy, food and other industries would be impossible without aluminium. In addition, aluminium has become a symbol of progress: all cutting edge devices and vehicles are made from aluminium.