How strong is aluminum?
- Defining aluminum’s strength
- Rating aluminum’s strength
Aluminum is a mineral that has numerous ideal features. First, it is known for being lightweight and flexible, making it adaptable to various applications. Aluminum is 100% recyclable — able to be melted down and reused. Instead of adding to landfill buildup, it is one of the most sustainable metals to date. Aluminum is also corrosion resistant, thermally conductive, and UV radiation resistant. But one thing that people often wonder about is how strong aluminum is.
But when you’re looking for strong materials for a project, aluminum is not the first metal that crosses people’s minds. Why? Many associate aluminum with beverage cans, kitchen foil, and foldable furniture.
While Aluminum may not be the strongest metal available, it does have a considerable strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it much stronger than you think. And thanks to the latest developments in aluminum alloys, the strength-to-weight ratio can be enhanced even more for specific applications.
Today, aluminum can be a component in some of the strongest-looking products out there — from aerospace vehicles, and pipelines, to skyscrapers.
Keep reading on to learn more about how strong aluminum is.
Defining Aluminum’s Strength
How is material strength determined? There are actually various qualities that are worth considering when deciding how strong a material is:
- Compressive strength measures how well a material withstands loads that reduce the material’s size or structure. For example, when measuring compressive strength, the material is squeezed top to bottom until it is deformed.
- Tensile strength measures how well a material resists when being stretched or pulled apart.
- Yield strength measures how well a material resists when being bent or deformed. Think of a rubber band that is stretched and goes back to its original form. You can say it has high yield strength.
- Impact strength measures how well a material withstands a blow without shattering or being fractured. The blow is absorbed.
Materials that excel in one strength area can fare poorly in another, which makes evaluating how strong a material is extra challenging. However, aluminum is a malleable metal. It balances malleability and strength, which makes it a versatile material. Fabricators can shape aluminum as needed while never compromising strength and durability. In general, aluminum fares well in the majority of strength areas — whether tensile strength, impact strength, or compressive strength — when fabricated.
Aluminum also maintains its strength well, unlike other metals. For instance, steel might be deemed as a strong material under ideal conditions, but it is vulnerable to corrosion and becomes brittle in cold environments. In contrast, aluminum naturally withstands corrosion and does not get impacted by temperature changes.
As stated earlier, aluminum also has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum weighs only about a third of steel yet maintains a higher yield strength. As an example, the maximum yield strength of one of the strongest aluminum alloys, the AA7068-T6, and one of the strongest steel alloys, the AISI 1080, are 683MPa and 585MPa, respectively.
Rating Aluminum’s Strength
How strong is aluminum? Aside from comparing tensile, yield, impact, and compressive strength, the most effective way to answer this question may be to check aluminum’s wide array of applications in various industries:
- Construction: Unlike wood and steel, aluminum does not deteriorate from harsh elements like pest infestations and corrosion. Thus, aluminum is widely used for construction items such as cladding, beams, window framing, panels, sections, and roofing materials. To date, many skyscrapers, stadiums, domes, and bridges are made of aluminum.
- Vehicles: Lightweight, strong, corrosion resistant, and able to cushion impacts, aluminum is one of the most commonly used materials in vehicle manufacturing. Aluminum is used in manufacturing everything from cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles, and ocean liners. The metal is used for body lamps, transmission, brakes, wheels, engine components, suspension, electrical wiring, and more.
- Aircraft and Spacecraft Components: Given that aluminum’s strength is comparable to steel with only a third of the weight, using it in aircraft and spacecraft components affords more cargo and passenger space as well as fuel efficiency. In addition, aluminum is resistant to corrosion and malleable, making it particularly useful in the aviation and aerospace industry.
- Consumer Electronics: Smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, computers, and different types of consumer electronics are produced using aluminum because of the material’s excellent heat conductivity. Aluminum is also stronger yet lighter than steel, which makes it ideal for consumer electronic parts.
How strong is aluminum? If aluminum is strong enough for use in vehicle manufacturing, aircraft and spacecraft components, consumer electronics, and construction projects, it is clearly a material you can rely on.
Whatever your aluminum needs, AMC Aluminum can help you find it. AMC Aluminum is a reputable aluminum product supplier and aluminum service provider in the Philippines. We offer high-quality aluminum powder-coated profiles, windows, and accessories. Click here to contact us for other inquiries.