The Aluminium Federation has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and as a little celebration, they put together a list of fifty ways aluminium has changed the world for a better. It’s something we take for granted but it has allowed us to develop at a staggering rate.
Here’s the list in full, in no particular order:
Numbers 1 – 10
Numbers 11 – 20
- Aluminium cans – light, strong and good for printing on, they have now overtaken steel as the material of choice. And they can be recycled so are good for the environment too.
- Thermal blankets – whether it’s used after marathons or after disasters, these blankets have become commonplace.
- Rocket fuel – aluminium powder is sometimes used to launch rockets into space.
- Offshore rigs – the unique contrasting properties of aluminium make it perfect for these structures.
- Construction – used for hundreds of years, this metal will stand the test of time.
- Modern industry – in 1886 the modern method of producing the metal was discovered and it revolutionised the industry, producing the mass market of today.
- Stage production
- Prefabs (post World War II)
- Prosthetic limbs – for over 100 years, the metal has been used to produce prosthetics for people born with disabilities or that have been involved in accidents.
Numbers 21 – 30
- Horse shoes – aluminium’s lightweight properties shine through again. With race horses every pound counts so their shoes are made with the metal.
- Ambitious building projects and structures
- Push scooters
- Guitars – although not common practice, some guitars in the 1970s were produced with aluminium necks.
- Statues and casting
- Machinery and mechanical equipment – particularly useful for heavy farm machinery, the metal has many useful properties here too.
- Monuments – because it weathers well, it is sometimes used for outdoor monuments and memorials.
- Aeroplanes – used more and more in this industry, the Airbus A380 contains up to 60% aluminium.
- Army vehicles
Numbers 31 – 40
- Stadiums – the iconic new building at Lords cricket ground is made completely of the metal.
- Wedding anniversary – aluminium celebrates the 10th anniversary.
- Cricket bats – briefly!
- Suitcases – again for its lightweight properties
- Heat protection clothes
- Ships – in one way or another, aluminium has been used in many ocean liners.
- Wheelchairs – because they need to be as lightweight but as sturdy as possible, this metal is perfect for wheelchairs.
- Metallic finishes – such as paint and nail varnish.
- Laptop casings
Numbers 41 – 50
- Special moments – in 2012, aluminium was used to make the Olympic Torch.
- Blister packs – used for paracetamol and other tablets.
- Dosimeters – devices to detect radiation levels, extremely important for those in the industry.
- Alloy wheels
- Outdoor facia panels
- Horse drawn carriages – used mainly for carriages for sporting events.
- Cars – increasingly, more and more parts of cars are made from aluminium in the quest to shed weight.
- Inner workings and mechanical parts of planes
- Quantum clocks – far more accurate at keeping time.
- Aluminium bottles – for the same reason as cans.
- Heat exchangers and thermal conducting
- Frames and powder coating – used in construction to improve the aesthetic appearance of buildings.
- Stockbridge dampers – used on power lines to remove the stress on the line.
- Memorials – often aluminium from a relevant object is recycled to create memorials.
- Road signs
- Scaffolding and ladders
- Printing – aluminium plates are used to produce a high quality print.
- Food wrappers
- Ancient discoveries – mysterious!