Aluminum is a soft, malleable and lightweight metal that usually has a silvery appearance, but can appear a darkish grey depending on the roughness of the metal's surface. Actually an oxide, it is derived from a white mineral, Alum, which has been used since the time of the Greeks and Romans as a dying agent. In 1926, Hans Christian Ǿrsted, a Danish chemist, used Alum to produce the first recognizable example of the metal we are familiar with today. There are many different uses, but most of the pieces we supply our customers have to do with building and construction.
WHAT IS ALUMINUM AND HOW CAN IT BE USED FOR BUILDING?
The easiest explanation: it is a lightweight, highly conductive, highly reactive metal with a low tensile strength. Because of these properties, it is the perfect metal for forms that require bending in order to be produced. Gutters, diamond plate flooring, rectangular and round tubes, even lawn furniture are often made of aluminum because of its bend-ability. Boone Steel carries many different forms: bars, tubes, pipes, channels, plates, and sheets.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Unlike most metals, Aluminum has no aroma and is therefore often used in food-related products: cookware, cutlery and, of course, cans.
- While copper and silver have more conductivity, aluminum is also an excellent conductor of electricity. It is often used in power lines, wiring, and in other projects that require high conductivity at a low price.
- Aluminum does not have a specific, definable fatigue limit. This means that any form that is being used to bear a load will eventually suffer fatigue failure. When used in design, engineers must take into account that this metal should only be utilized to bear loads for a fixed amount of time, rather than indefinitely.
- Because it is highly reactive, care must be taken when polishing or coloring the metal. Without the proper finishing materials, oxidization will occur quickly, forming a thin layer that maintains the original color of the metal but will smudge if touched. If finishing, make sure that you use a lacquer specifically formulated for aluminum so that the lacquer bonds properly to the metal. Anodized aluminum does not require a protective layer of lacquer.
We hope that this section has been informative, boone steel LLC carries all of the standard forms and sizes of most metal products. Please visit metalsforasteel.com to see our Aluminum Inventory. If you are looking for a particular piece of metal that you haven't been able to find anywhere, please email us and one of our metal specialists will get right back to you.