Aluminium is a strong, durable and lightweight metal. In today's energy-conscious society, these three basic properties combine to make the metal the preferred material of construction for transport applications, where weight saving to reduce fuel consumption and to increase load carrying capacity is vital. Products like motor cars, is an obvious example. It is not surprising therefore, that the use of aluminium in all its various forms - plate, sheet, extrusions, castings and forgings - is increasing across the whole range of transport applications. The use of aluminium for automobile engine blocks and cylinder heads, heat exchangers, transmission housings, engine parts and automobile wheels has risen steadily over the last decade.
The reasons for the extensive use of aluminium lies in the diverse range of properties (mechanical, physical etc.) exhibited by aluminium and its alloys: ?h A key property is low density. Aluminium is only one-third the weight of steel.
?h Aluminium and most of its alloys are highly resistant to most forms of corrosion. The metal's natural coating of aluminium oxide provides a highly effective barrier to the effects of air, temperature, moisture and chemical attack.
?h Aluminium is a superb conductor of electricity. This property allied with other intrinsic qualities has ensured the replacement of copper by aluminium in many situations.
?h Aluminium is non-magnetic and non-combustible, properties invaluable in advanced industries such as electronics or in offshore structures.
?h Aluminium is non-toxic and impervious, qualities that have established its use in the food and packaging industries since the earliest times.
Other valuable properties include high reflectivity, heat barrier properties and heat conduction. The metal is malleable and easily worked by the common manufacturing and shaping processes.
Another area that is becoming increasingly important is the economic disposal of used vehicles using materials recycling. Aluminium offers the best...