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November 25, 2014

Why we’re thankful for aluminum

As you’ve seen in this blog, GatorBridge makes a tremendous variety of pedestrian bridges in all sorts of configurations. Every project we complete has one thing in common: the core material we use is a military-grade alloy of aluminum.

 

Did you know aluminum is the third most common element in the Earth’s crust? Here are 18 reasons to be thankful that aluminum is so abundant on our planet.

  1. Aluminum’s density is only one-third that of steel, making it a very lightweight metal.  One pound of aluminum can replace two pounds of steel in most applications.
  2. Aluminum alloys can match the strength of steel.
  3. Aluminum is an extremely durable metal that doesn’t rot and stands up to repeated use. It is resistant to corrosion from weather, common gases within the atmosphere, and other liquids. When aluminum oxidizes, the resulting aluminum oxide acts sticks to the original metal and shields it from further decay.
  4. Aluminum is ideal for kitchen utensils and food packaging.
  5. Aluminum foil blocks light, oxygen and bacteria, which is beneficial to the pharmaceutical industry for packing medicines, such as tablets and capsules.
  6. Aluminum and its alloys are used in making everything from iPhones to autos and aircraft.
  7. Aluminum works well with various fabrication techniques, including forging, casting, rolling, drawing and extruding.
  8. Aluminum alloys can be extruded and tailor-made to suit a buyer’s needs.  The extrusion technique opens the door to almost unlimited design possibilities for product design.
  9. Thanks to its high flexibility, aluminum can be easily formed into tiny items, such as paper clips.
  10. Aluminum compounds can be used as catalyst in explosives.
  11. Aluminum powder, a common ingredient in energetic materials, is used to increase the energy and raise the flame temperature in rocket propellants.
  12. Aluminum is a very reflective metal, making it very useful in home decor items, such as blinds, windows and doors.
  13. Aluminum is the only material that is infinitely recyclable. Once produced, it can be recycled over and over and over without any loss in quality. Most other materials – like wood, natural fiber and plastics – can only be “down-cycled” into inferior products once or a few times.
  14. Every minute, an average of more than 123,000 aluminum cans are recycled. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours.
  15. Two-thirds of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.
  16. Thanks to aluminum, we know more about the universe.  Al-26, aluminum's longest-lasting radioactive isotope, has a half-life of about 730,000 years. This attribute enabled NASA scientists to estimate that a supernova occurs every 50 years, on average, in the Milky Way galaxy, and every year seven new stars are born.
  17. According to the American Chemical Society, aluminum is “naturally good looking.” So you’ll be proud to be seen with aluminum—especially when wearing rubies, emeralds and sapphires, which consist mainly of crystalline aluminum oxide.
  18. Your turkey will cook well (and look great!) in an aluminum roasting pan.

 

Sources:  Livescience.com, Honest.com blog, American Chemical Society

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