Source International – Manufacturing Materials – Learning Center
Aluminum (also known as Aluminium) is a chemical element in the boron group bearing the symbol Al and the atomic number 13. It is a soft, non-magnetic, silvery, ductile metal. In addition, it is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Aluminum and its alloys are vital to many industries such as aerospace and transportation, and it has a wide range of uses and applications in manufacturing.
As the most widely used non-ferrous metal in the world, aluminum is almost always alloyed as it greatly improves its mechanical properties, especially after tempering. The main metals used as alloying agents include Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, and Silicon. Aluminum is generally formed into product via various casting techniques, such as: Die Casting, Sand Casting, and Permanent Mold Casting.
Some of the vast applications of this versatile metal include:
- Packaging – e.g., foil, frames, cans, etc.
- Transportation applications in the automobile, aircraft, railway, marine, space exploration and other industries
- Construction – e.g., windows, siding, doors, wire, roofing, sheathing, etc.
- Food and beverage containers
- Paint and light reflective surfaces
- LED lighting – used as a substrate material
- Electronics, CDs, and cabling
- Shells and cases for various types of electronic equipment
- An impressive range of household items from cooking utensils to sporting goods equipment
- Rocket fuels and fireworks
- Musical instruments
- Coins and currency
- Power transmissions
- Car engines