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Unalloyed Aluminum is ductile, exhibits moderate strength, and is very resistant to corrosion under most circumstances. It is the most abundant metallic element in the Earth’s crust as well as the most widely used nonferrous metal.
Aluminum is commonly used in both wrought and cast forms. It can also be drawn into wire or rolled into thin foil.
Almost everyone in the world has or will use a product containing aluminum. With its ideal physical properties, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Aluminum has:
- Great ductility
- High malleability
- A melting point of 660 °C (1220 °F)
- High strength-to-weight ratio
- Strong thermal and electrical conductivity
Aluminum is also an infinitely recyclable material, which improves life-cycle management and reduces the environmental impact of its application.
The low density of the metal results in its extensive use in the aerospace industry, and in other transportation fields. Its resistance to corrosion leads to its use in food and chemical handling (cookware, pressure vessels, aluminum rolls for food wrapping, etc.) and to architectural uses.
The most common aluminum products include:
- Power lines. Aluminum provides a better conductivity to weight ratio than copper – another material commonly used in electrical applications.
- Automobiles. With an increasing emphasis on performance, fuel economy and reducing emissions, aluminum is seen as the material of choice among manufacturers due to its strength and environmental advantages.
- Ships. Light and strong materials are a must for water vessels, especially ones that fill their hull with cargo. Most sporting boats are also built from aluminum for an added speed advantage.
- Consumer electronics. In an industry that values sophisticated looks as well as reliability, aluminum hits both marks – it’s beautiful and practical. Smartphones, tablets, PC monitors and other electronics all use it in their production.
- Window frames. Using aluminum for window frames is a durable, cost-effective and lightweight option for homes as well as offices.