The corrosion resistant qualities of aluminum provide a low maintenance material that is resistant to weathering under a range of harsh environmental conditions. Unlike many other materials, it will not swell, crack, split or warp over time.
Aluminum is the most commonly recycled post-consumer metal in the world. The aluminum industry in North America has significantly improved its processes over the last 20 years. The Aluminum Association states that energy consumption per ton of aluminum produced in secondary cast houses has been reduced by nearly 60% from 1991 to 2006; greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 65% in the same period.
The Aluminum Extruders Council notes that aluminum extrusions can make substantial contributions to sustainability through recycling and the delivery of in-use carbon and fuel reductions in transportation and building applications.
As per the Aluminum Extruders Council:
• Aluminum can be recycled over and over without resulting in any degradation to its physical properties (this is the only elemental metal for which this is the case)
• About 75% of over 1 billion tons of primary aluminum that has been produced since 1888 is still being used today
• Recycling represents approximately 35% of global aluminum production
• Recycling aluminum requires about 5% of the energy required for primary aluminum production
• For every ton of aluminum recycled, instead of produced from ore: 24 barrels of crude oil equivalents over 15 tons of fresh or sea water, and over 9 tons of C02 equivalents are saved
• Substituting aluminum for other materials, especially denser materials, has significant in-use benefits, saving energy and reducing C02 emissions
Aluminum vs. Steel
Aluminum extrusions have many advantages over roll-formed steel, depending on the intended project application. Aluminum is lightweight, about 1 half the weight of steel, and has a very good strength-to-weight ratio . Aluminum has excellent corrosion resistance properties-steel does not. The use of coatings can enhance this quality in both of these metals . They both have good mechanical properties.
Aluminum has a higher scrap value and is routinely reprocessed to generate new extrusions . A key advantage of aluminum is that it is easily formable. Extrusions can be manufactured in a wide range of shapes including complex shapes such as multi-void hollows. Aluminum extrusions provide for the placement of metal where it is required. There are a variety of finishing techniques and coatings that can be used on either metal.
• Aluminum is malleable , and this allows for several design and decorative options that can be made to complement the facade of the structure
• Aluminum produces an extremely durable, long-lasting, maintenance-free finish
• Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust and the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. Aluminum is too reactive to be found pure
• The recycling of aluminum saves almost 95% of the energy needed to produce aluminum from its original source, bauxite ore
Extrusion Process Advantages
• Ease of Fabrication
• Low Tooling Costs
• Precision Tolerances Available
• Process Repeatability
• Rapid Prototyping
• Short Lead Time
• Versatility in Joining
• Virtual Seamlessness
Aluminum Extrusion Advantages
• 100°% Recyclable and Non-toxic
• Attractive End Product
• Complex Integral Shapes
• Corrosion Resistance
• Design Flexibility
• Good Strength-to-Weight Ratio
• Wide Range of Finishes
• Uniform Quality
• Wide range of finish options