Aluminum's Characteristics

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Light, Strong and Beautiful

The specific gravity of aluminum is 2.7, approximately one-third of the specific gravity of iron (7.8) or that of copper (8.9). The light weight of aluminum products offers various benefits.

Because of its high specific tensile strength (strength per unit), aluminum is used in structural materials.

Aluminum materials can be painted, anodized, or even coated with functional resin film. Such treatment makes it possible to manufacture highly functional products that are attractive.

Specific tensile strength

Aluminum 5083-O 11.5
Steel General copper 5.4
Copper Hot-rolled material 2.7
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Aerospace applications
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Bullet trains
Picture of Curtain walls
Curtain walls

High Processability

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Extruded parts

Because of its plasticity, aluminum can easily be formed into different shapes. For instance, aluminum can be processed into thin foils and extruded into complex shapes.

Superior Optical and Thermal Reflectance

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Polygon mirrors

Aluminum surfaces are good at reflecting light, heat, radio and other waves. Aluminum is often used for in reflectors for heating appliances and lighting fixtures.

High Thermal and Electric Conductivities

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Heat sinks

The thermal conductivity of pure aluminum is 237 W/m.k, approximately three times that of iron. The electric conductivity of aluminum is 63%, twice that of the same weight of copper.

High Corrosion Resistance

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LNG carriers
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High-end camera cases

When exposed to air, aluminum forms dense, stable, oxide film, which naturally prevents aluminum from being corroded.

Surface treatment characteristics include thick, oxide film that can be artificially created by the anodic oxide coating treatment called Alumite. This further improves the anti-corrosion effect.

Nonmagnetic

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Magnetic discs

Aluminum is nonmagnetic, suiting it for use in magnetic compasses and magnetic computer discs.

Easily Recyclable

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Cans

Recycling aluminum requires only 3% the amount of energy required to produce bare aluminum. Aluminum is thus an eco-friendly metal that contributes to saving the earth resources.

High Resistance to Low Temperatures

Picture of Rockets Source: National Space Development Agency of Japan
Rockets
Source: National Space Development Agency of Japan

Aluminum is highly resistant to low temperatures and maintains superior toughness at very low temperatures. It is therefore indispensable for space equipment and LNG tanks in the cryogenic industry.