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A spotlight on Aluminium

Carli Goodfellow

Aluminium is the most abundant metal to be found in the earth's crust.  It is extracted from bauxite, hydrated Aluminium oxide, and once in the elemental form aluminium has a silvery appearance.

  • Aluminium Melting Point 660.32 °C
  • Aluminium Density 2700 kgm-3
  • Aluminium Young’s Modulus 70 GPa
  • Aluminium Poisson’s Ratio 0.35
  • Aluminium Electrical Resistivity 2.7 x 10-8 Wm
  • Aluminium Thermal Conductivity 235 W m-1 K-1 

In its pure form aluminium is light, malleable and ductile.  Aluminium is also nonmagnetic and non-sparking.  A thin non-conducting oxide layer readily forms over aluminium’s surface in air and is the reason for aluminium’s excellent corrosion resistance.

The addition of small amounts of copper, magnesium, silicon, manganese and other elements along with specific heat treatments can significantly improve the strength of the aluminium.  It must be noted that while the addition of these elements increases the strength, they can also decrease the corrosion resistance of the aluminium.  

The combination of aluminium’s alloys high strength, light weight and good corrosion resistance has resulted in the widespread use of aluminium alloys in the aerospace industry, as well as other forms of transportation and other industries including; 

Power Lines

Aluminium is ideal for wiring power grids, including overhead power transmission lines and local power distribution lines because it provides a better conductivity to weight ratio than copper – also one of most common materials used in electrical applications. 

Aluminium has barely more than half the conductivity of copper – but with only 30 percent of the weight, a bare wire of aluminium with similar electrical resistance will weigh only half as much. Aluminium is also less expensive than copper, which makes it more attractive from an economical and financial perspective. Source:

Aircraft Components

Aluminium has three excellent properties in particular that make it so useful in the aviation industry: high strength to weight ratio, excellent ductility, and high resistance to corrosion. In fact, it is because of aluminium that human beings have been able to fly in the first place, ever since the Wright brothers used aluminium to make the engine crankcase for their first wood-frame biplane. Given that aluminium is comparable in strength to steel with only a fraction of the weight, using it in aircraft construction affords planes more weight capacity for cargo and passengers, as well as greater fuel-efficiency. Aluminium’s high resistance to corrosion also helps ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, which is one of its most fundamental requisites of air travel. Source:

Satellites & Space Structures

Aluminum alloys are often strong and lightweight enough to be functional in space structures and satellites. Aluminum is used for the shutters on the windows of the International Space Station in order to protect the windows from impacts.These windows already are made with glass thicker than panes of glass on earth and often with twice as many panes. However, the additional aluminium shutters guarantee the safety of the astronauts within. Source: Azom

Consumer Electronics

Aluminium is one of the most prominent materials in electronic devices. It’s present in smartphones, laptops, and peripheral accessories.

Nokia and HTC were the first cell phone manufacturers to engineer aluminum handsets. Yet, Apple made aluminium accessories and phones fashionable, such as the new iPad Pro with 5G, 24″ iMac (2021), etc.



Advent Research Materials Ltd supplies Aluminium in foil, sheet, wire, rod, tube and sputtering target form in various different quantities. To see our full range please visit the product page

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