Aluminium is a soft and pliable metal with many benefits that make it excellent for machining. These include its high strength, suppleness and lightness; it also lacks magnetic properties, is non-flammable and resistant to corrosion. It’s perfect for use on CNC machines and can be worked using most machining methods including: Milling, Drilling, Turning, Punching & Bending.
Aluminium is the most widespread metal on Earth, making up more than 8% of the Earth’s core mass. It’s also the third most common chemical element on our planet after oxygen and silicon. The Persians made extra strong pots from clay containing aluminium oxide, dating back to 5300BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans used alum in medicine as an astringent and in dyeing processes. But Aluminium does not occur naturally in its purest form, and it wasn’t until the 19th Century with the developments in chemistry and the advent of electricity that aluminium was discovered. It is generally found in minerals and compounds such as feldspar, beryl, cryolite, and turquoise, the primary raw material for aluminium production is Bauxite. Bauxite is generally found in topsoil located in various tropical and subtropical regions, reserves are most abudant in Africa, Oceania and South America.
In the first stage of aluminium production bauxite is processed into alumina, or aluminium oxide. Alumina looks like white powder and it is then processed into aluminium at aluminium smelters using electrolytic reduction. Aluminium ingots are produced in various shapes and sizes depending on their end use. They may be rolled into plate, sheet, foil, bars or rods.
A known lightweight metal, it has a specific weight of approximately 2.71 g/cm3. It’s about a third of the weight of steel, which makes it easier and cheaper to transport than most other metals. The strength of aluminium can be adapted using varying alloying elements to provide better benefits including higher strength or easier formability.
Aluminium is a corrosion resistant metal that naturally generates a protective coating. The coating formed is extremely thin and is generated when aluminium comes into contact with an oxidising environment. This protective aluminium oxide layer helps protect the surface of the metal from corrosion. Additionally, getting surface treatment such as painting or anodising can further improve the overall corrosion resistance of the metal.
Electrical and Thermal Conductivity
It is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Although aluminium is not as conductive as copper it is approximately a third of the weight meaning that an aluminium wire with half the weight of a copper wire would have the same amount of electrical resistance. As a result, it is the chosen material for power transmission lines. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and is used as heatsinks in a variety of applications such as LED lights, electrical products, computer motherboards, etc.
Another benefit of Aluminium is that it serves as a good reflector. It is used in rescue blankets and light fittings because of its ability to reflect both light and heat.
Odourless and Impermeable
Even with 0.007 mm thickness of aluminium foil, it is still impermeable and doesn’t have a substance taste or smell. This is non-toxic and often used for packaging of the sensitive products including pharmaceuticals and food.
Aluminium is a 100% recyclable and during the recycling process, it retains all of its original properties. During production, it is more cost-effective to use recycled metal than prime metal out of the ground and so, during production as much recycled material is used as possible.
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