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Aluminum for Construction & Building

Today, aluminum is one of the most-used metals in construction. Construction applications for aluminum span many industries, both in commercial and residential markets. From framing to spandrels, roofing products and more, aluminum is the preferred metal for builders. Aluminum materials are lighter, more durable and simpler to work with than other construction products.

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Why Is Aluminum Good for Construction? 

The density of aluminum material, combined with its strength ratio and lightweight properties make it the perfect component for building and construction projects. The metal's ability to be shaped and extended in multiple ways makes it ideal for projects that require a high level of detail and durability. 

Aluminum Construction Applications

Aluminum has been a major component in construction since 1930. The development of the Empire State Building saw the first widespread use of aluminum as a structural building material. Interior structures, window architecture and the famous spire are all made from aluminum — they remain as durable today as they were 80 years ago.

Benefits of Aluminum in Construction

Bridges, skyscrapers and patio doors are all made with aluminum. It's a top material choice that is growing in popularity. The benefits of aluminum include:

1. Aluminum Is Strong

Aluminum is a strong metal, made even stronger through the process of alloying. Combining aluminum with other metals such as zinc, magnesium or copper increases strength. Tensile strength for aluminum alloy ranges from 40 MPa up to 700 MPa. Aluminum frames are the ideal framing solution for heavy glass since they increase the amount of available exterior space for windows.

2. Aluminum Is Resistant to Corrosion

Aluminum produces a layer of surface protection, adding durability through natural resistance to corrosion. Natural oxides prevent contact between aluminum and the elements, stopping corrosion even in extreme industrial applications. Aluminum offers natural corrosion resistance with virtually no maintenance. It's a top choice for bridge construction due to its durability without added paint or treatments.

3. Aluminum Is Lightweight

Aluminum has a weight of 2.7g per cubic centimeter compared to steel at 7.9. Construction products built with aluminum are roughly three times lighter than structures made with steel. Reduced weight increases construction speed and lessens the burden on foundations, allowing for more efficient construction of taller buildings.

4. Aluminum Is Versatile

Aluminum is malleable and suitable for framing or decorative purposes. It offers thermal efficiency to maintain cool temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter, reducing ongoing expenses. Aluminum tensile strength increases as temperatures drop, while steel becomes brittle and weak. Aluminum can be anodized, painted or receive other surface treatments for artistic effect, or to add or enhance properties.

5. Aluminum Is Better for the Environment

Aluminum is 100% recyclable and the top choice for green, environmentally conscious architecture. Aluminum use in building construction promotes natural temperature control, which reduces heating and cooling costs. Construction projects using aluminum are completed faster, so fewer resources are consumed.

 

Contact HARBOR for Aluminum Construction Market Intelligence

The use of aluminum in construction applications will continue to grow. Stay current with up-to-the-moment global aluminum pricing and our News & Insights today.

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