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Aluminum in the Engineering Industry

Aluminum metals are extremely versatile, durable and strong, ideally suited for a variety of structural, aerospace, electrical and other engineering uses. Depending on the final applications, aluminum can undergo an alloying process. Alloying enhances aluminum's innate properties and improves it by adding others. Aluminum products are used to build bridges, design satellites, create electrical wire, build machinery and more.

Aluminum remains a top engineering choice for many reasons, including:

  • Lightweight: Aluminum weighs one-third as much as steel, a massive reduction in load.

  • Durable: Exposed aluminum oxidizes almost instantly, protecting surfaces from rust and corrosion.

  • Strong: Aluminum alloys are incredibly strong, capable of building the tallest skyscrapers.

  • Malleable: Aluminum can be melted, cast and shaped into countless forms.

  • Conductive: Alloys are excellent conductors of heat and electricity.

Aluminum products are 100% recyclable — recycled aluminum and new aluminum share the same properties. This metal is also highly workable while retaining tensile strength and is more affordable to produce than other metals.

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Types of Aluminum Applications for Engineers

Aluminum is made stronger through a process known as alloying. Aluminum alloy can be engineered to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy loads and more. Engineering demands determine the correct aluminum alloy composition for the project. Different alloys contain properties making them more suitable for certain applications. Aluminum products can be pure, alloyed through heat-treating or undergo a cold alloying process.

Electrical Engineering

Aluminum is the leading material choice for conducting power in electrical lines. Wires made with aluminum do not corrode or spark. Weighing about half the amount of copper wire, aluminum is also less expensive to produce. Electrical busbars are commonly made from aluminum.

Structural Engineering

Strong, lightweight and naturally resistant to corrosion, aluminum is used in structural engineering applications around the world. Aluminum allows for taller buildings, the inclusion of more windows and better temperature regulation. Alloys are used for both functional and decorative purposes.

Automotive Engineering

The lightweight properties of aluminum offer significant value in the automotive sector. Automotive engineers use aluminum to design vehicle frames and parts. Vehicles made with aluminum are lighter, decreasing demands on engines, brakes and other vehicle components.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronic designs rely heavily on aluminum to produce durable, lightweight products. Engineers select aluminum to design structural framing, insulators, capacitors and more. Computers, television and kitchen appliances all rely on aluminum alloy for design and function.

Aerospace Engineering

The majority of aircraft and aerospace components are constructed using aluminum. Aluminum products are used to design fuselage structures, wingspans and other aircraft components. Aluminum is widely used in private, commercial and military aircraft.

Other Uses

The applications for aluminum continue to grow. Today, engineers are finding new ways to incorporate aluminum alloys into designing maritime products, lightweight train cars, solar panels, batteries and more.

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Make confident decisions with up-to-the-minute aluminum pricing, market intelligence and forecasting from HARBOR Aluminum Intelligence. We offer access to strategic data to help you make more informed decisions. HARBOR is the Aluminum Authority. For more information about our market intelligence reports and other services, contact HARBOR today.

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