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Top 10 Uses for Aluminium

Published by Rapid Metals on

Aluminium is the most abundant metal on Earth, and it is the third most abundant mineral after silicon and oxygen. It has a lot of desirable qualities, including being lightweight, resistant to corrosion, a great electrical conductor, reflects light and heat, is non-toxic, and is 100% recyclable without losing any of its original properties. 

Due to its wide range of benefits, aluminium is the second most used metal on the planet, meaning almost everyone has used an aluminium product at some point in their life. It is extremely versatile and perfect for all manner of consumer products. To show you just how useful aluminium is, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 uses of aluminium. 

1. Trains

Steel and iron have long been the go-to materials for trains and railways, but as time goes on, aluminium is becoming increasingly more common. It’s more lightweight and efficient than iron and steel, meaning trains can travel faster. Although it’s lighter, it’s no less strong. Carriages moulded from aluminium are just as strong as those made from steel and iron, meaning they’re equally as safe, but with the added benefit of being lighter, allowing for faster commutes. 

Another added bonus of using aluminium for trains is that carriages will require less maintenance thanks to the corrosion-resistant properties of the metal. It could also be argued that aluminium is safer when used on transmission lines in place of more valuable copper lines. 

2. Ships

Being so lightweight yet strong, aluminium is the perfect material for ships and boats. With a lower mass, it allows for more cargo, people and/or fuel to be loaded onto the vessel, reducing the number of trips necessary, therefore making shipping more efficient. 

It’s not just commercial ships that aluminium is used for – it’s commonly used in the making of speedboats because its mass allows for greater speeds to be reached, making it ideal for sporting and competitive boating. 

3. Cars

The vast majority of people travel in cars every single day. They’ve come a long way since they were first invented, and they’re now safer than ever, but aluminium is making them even more safe. For the same reason the metal is used on ships and trains, it is used in cars. The lightweight yet super-strong properties mean cars weigh less but protect passengers equally as much as heavier metals. 

The lower mass reduces the weight of the car, and the lighter the car, the more fuel efficient it is. To add to the economical properties of aluminium, it is 100% recyclable which means when cars are scrapped, the metal can be re-used for something else, creating a more sustainable lifespan. 

4. Window Frames

Most modern window frames are made from aluminium, whilst older ones are made from wood. The major benefit of using aluminium for window frames is that it’s extremely durable and works well in windy and stormy climates. They’re cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain, but it is worth noting that wood window frames are better insulators and are therefore more efficient. This is because aluminium tends to reflect light and heat. 

5. Spacecrafts

Perhaps one of the most impressive uses of the humble aluminium mineral is that it is used in almost all space missions. The same material that is used on your car is also used on spacecraft, and for exactly the same reasons. It endures heat extremely well, is strong and durable, and is lightweight. These are all components vital to space missions, and for that reason, aluminium is a go-to material for space agencies around the world. 

6. Construction 

High rise buildings are an integral part of modern society, especially in large cities as the race for space continues. Steel has been used in the construction of skyscrapers for decades, and it’s still integral to this day, but aluminium is being used more often because it’s just as strong but a lot lighter. This means foundations don’t need to be as deep, and overall project costs can be reduced. 

7. Electronics 

If you have a new TV, mobile phone or computer in your house, there’s a good chance it has been manufactured with aluminium to a degree. Plastic and steel have historically been used, but the latter is not very durable, and neither option does much in the way of dispersing heat. Aluminium bridges these gaps. It’s lighter than steel which means electronics don’t need to weigh you down and can remain highly portable, but it’s excellent at absorbing heat, keeping your devices cooler and functioning better. 

8. Power Lines

Aluminium is not as good of an electrical conductor as copper, but it’s less than a third of the weight, and it’s far less expensive, too. For these reasons, aluminium is beginning to replace copper on power lines based on its weight to conductivity ratio. It will take two lots of aluminium to get the same output as copper, but it will weigh half as much and cost far less, making it an increasingly more attractive option. 

9. Aircraft

Aluminium is used on every other mode of transport, so it makes sense that it is used on aircraft, too. Aeroplanes need to be lightweight to account for passengers and cargo, but they also need to be durable and able to withstand the demands of flying at 30,000 feet. Aluminium is great for this because although it’s light, it’s very durable and rivals its much heavier counterpart, steel. 

Not only this, it’s also better in terms of maintenance because of its corrosion-resistant properties, and the lighter mass allows for greater fuel efficiency. 

10. Appliances

If you have a fridge in your kitchen, there’s a strong chance it relies on aluminium. As a reflector of heat, it’s perfect for refrigerating food. Your washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer also all likely use an aluminium frame, making it one of the more prolific metals you use in your day-to-day life. 

Buy Aluminium Online 

In addition to the 10 uses listed above, aluminium is great for hobbyist metal applications, too. Whatever your needs, Rapid Metals can help. We are a leading provider of aluminium available to buy online. We supply aluminium: 

  • Angle
  • Box section
  • Box
  • Sheet
  • Plate
  • Square
  • Channel
  • Tube
  • Bar
  • Sections

No matter how big or small your project is, we can help. If you’d like to buy aluminium online but would like more information, or if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on our website, please contact us and we’ll be happy to advise.

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