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The metal of the future: Aluminum

Contributed by: Anonymous
June 19, 2021

Aluminium has been one of the very few industries where global production and consumption have constantly been increasing over the past decade. According to the data revealed by International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the global aluminium production in 2021-22 reached 67 million tonnes. Various existing and upcoming sectors are using aluminium more and more each day!

The growth has been driven by the fact that aluminium has some unique physical properties and that makes it a great choice in a wide range of applications and products. For example – aluminium is outperforming copper in long-distance electrical transmission due to its conductivity to weight ratio being better than that of copper. The transportation and aerospace sectors are using more and more aluminium because of its strength and workability yet lightweight properties. Similarly, packaging, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat exchange systems are also adapting to aluminium due to its excellent thermal properties, corrosion-resistant & highly malleable nature.

Apart from these existing industries and usages, aluminium is getting used in a lot of new and upcoming technologies and applications which will drive consumption in the coming years. To name a few:

  • 3D Printing: Aluminium powder is often used to print fully functional parts as well as separate parts that are strong, precise and can handle details of 0.25 mm. Sustainable Energy: multi-strand, high-quality aluminium cable with installation, cost and safety advantages that make it perfectly suitable for down-tower wind turbine applications.
  • New Power Sources: Aluminium-based powder produces hydrogen when exposed to water, allowing power to be generated quickly and easily.
  • Due to its lightweight nature, aluminium is the key metal in EV manufacturing and in the days to come, the use of aluminium in the automotive industry will increase.

Aluminium is a sustainable metal that can be recycled infinitely. Its recycling saves 95% of the energy required to produce it from raw materials. Melt it, reform it, re-melt it, but aluminium never loses its quality, and the process can be continuous. Recycling 1 tonne of aluminium saves 9 tonnes of CO2 emissions and 4 tonnes of bauxite, the aluminium ore, while 1 tonne of CO2 is equivalent to driving over 3,500 miles. As a result, one of the major goals of the industry is to reduce emissions by promoting aluminium recycling and expanding its use in automobiles, trains, and aircraft.