What is Aluminium?

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About Aluminium

Aluminium is light and durable, corrosion resistant and easily recyclable. Maxwell Aluminium produces its aluminium in ingots, tees, billets and slabs, which are sold around the world for a huge number of end uses. Aluminium will play an increasingly important role in an environmentally-aware economy. Some of its benefits are:
  • Weight reduction in vehicles and other modes of transport. This helps reduce fuel consumption and, as a result, carbon dioxide emissions.
  • A whole recycling industry focusing on cast automotive parts has been developed for aluminium. Unlike other materials, aluminium products are not dumped at the end of their life cycles.
  • Corrosion resistance. Experience of construction, civil engineering and shipbuilding applications over several decades has shown that aluminium, even when uncoated, is extremely resistant to atmospheric corrosion in rural, urban and marine environments.
Another major benefit of aluminium recycling is the 95% energy saving compared to the production of molten primary aluminium from alumina, which also represents a saving of up to seven tonnes of bauxite.

Aluminium from Maxwell’s potlines is around 99.8% pure, but most aluminium is alloyed with other products to obtain metals with particular properties.

For example:
  • Copper increases aluminium’s strength and hardness and makes the alloy heat-treatable.
  • Magnesium increases aluminium’s tensile strength, resistance to marine corrosion, weld ability and hardness.
  • Manganese increases aluminium’s strength and resistance to corrosion.
  • Silicon lowers aluminium’s melting point and improves castability.
  • Zinc improves aluminium’s strength and hardness.
Aluminium and its alloys provide a very useful range of properties for use in industry and commerce.

No other metal can be fashioned into the myriad of shapes aluminium can for everyday use in industry and commerce, in the home, on the roads, in the air, and on the water.

Aluminium alloys are:
  • lightweight (about 1/3 the mass of an equivalent volume of steel or copper) but with alloying can become very strong;
  • excellent thermal and electrical conductors (on a weight-for-mass basis, aluminium will conduct more than twice as much electricity as copper);
  • highly reflective to radiant energy in the electromagnetic spectrum;
  • highly corrosion resistant in air and water (including sea water);
  • highly workable and can be formed into almost any structural shape;
  • non-magnetic;
  • non-toxic; and
  • attractive.