Aluminium is both incredibly light while also being extremely strong and flexible. It’s also corrosion resistant, due to its surface layer of thin but strong oxide film.
Aluminium doesn’t rust. Instead it tarnishes when it weakly reacts with oxygen or sulphur dioxide. Thankfully, it’s really easy to make aluminium shiny again.
Aluminium is easy to bend with heat – usually 100 degrees Celsius is enough. Aluminium tends to have a fair amount of spring-back, though, so be aware that when you bend it to your desired angle or radius, it may spring back a little once it’s cooled.
When aluminium comes into contact with water, it forms a protective oxide layer – this is the start of the corrosive process. The more salt there is present in water, the quicker the water eats away at the oxide layer, leading to corrosion. Corrosion can be prevented with protective coatings.
Aluminium has a really high melting point, which means the majority of home fires and fire pit fires won’t melt it. In fact, aluminium can be used to make a fire pit. While these fires can heat up to the melting point of aluminium, it’s rare they’ll sustain that temperature long enough to actually melt the metal.
Aluminium is 100% recyclable. Producing new aluminium from recycled aluminium only uses 5% of the energy and emissions needed to make it from its raw form.
Yes, aluminium can be welded. There are two ways to weld aluminium – GTAW/TIG welding and GMAW/MIG welding.
The former refers to tungsten inert gas welding, which uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to melt the aluminium into a weld puddle. The weld puddle is then cooled and protected with an inert shielding gas like helium or argon.
The latter refers to metal inert gas welding, which is where a continuous solid wire electrode travels through the welding gun along with the shielding gas.
Yes, aluminium can be soldered. We have written a complete guide to soldering aluminium, so make sure you read that for tips on getting the best results.
Aluminium can be powder coated, although the process is fairly complex and needs to be done right to not damage the integrity of the metal. If done properly, powder coating will improve the corrosion resistance, resistance to wear and tear, and achieve the desired matt finish.
Aluminium is a metal and the 13th element on the periodic table. Aluminium is the most abundant metal on earth, and is the third most common chemical element after oxygen and silicon. Aluminium is often combined with manganese to create an aluminium alloy.
As a general rule, steel is stronger than aluminium. However, when you break the metals down into their various grades, there are some grades of aluminium that are stronger than some grades of steel. You can read our guide to choosing the right metal for your project for more information on their different properties.
Aluminium can last well over 40 years, even in tough outdoor conditions. This is down to the aluminium oxide layer – a coating that helps to protect against rust and corrosion.