Aluminium is becoming more popular due to its versatility, strength and environmental sustainability and for this reason, thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) have invested heavily in ensuring that we offer the quality and service that you would expect from a global leader in material supply and we hold in stock many of the commonly used forms of aluminium in various alloys.
In addition to these standard items, we also stock bespoke or ‘special’ items that are tailored to meet our customers exact requirements. To find out more about non-standard items and how we can help, why not contact us.
Introduction – What is aluminium?
Aluminium is the third most abundant element on earth behind oxygen and silicon. It accounts for roughly 8% of the earth’s crust and is produced from the aluminium ore - bauxite. The compound is found a few meters below the ground and is usually strip mined. After mining, the ore is ground and refined and the alumina is separated from bauxite using a process of electrolysis involving a solution of hot caustic soda and lime. This process is energy intensive and is a large factor in the overall cost of aluminium.
It is a very popular metal due to some key characteristics including: 100% recyclable, high strength to weight ratio, easily machinable and formable and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
Benefits of aluminium
The uptake of aluminium in the different industries is continually increasing largely because of its standout benefits, which include its simplicity to process and work with. Compared to other metals like iron and steel, aluminium is more malleable and stands better against the test of time. It is a low-density metal with a smooth surface and low dimensional tolerance and is not externally magnetisable. The metal can also be anodised for aesthetic purposes depending on the alloy making its applications more diverse. Anodised aluminium can also be used for aesthetic purposes depending on the alloy, making its applications more diverse and roughly a third of the weight of steel. The different grades have different weight factors but it is generally rounded to 2,710kg per cubic meter. Compared to other types of metal, it is relatively easy to machine while maintaining relatively high strength being corrosion resistant and having 100% recyclability. Pure aluminium (Al) is alloyed with different elements to give the final aluminium alloy different properties. For example, copper is the alloying element in 2xxx series grades to give improved strength however this addition of copper reduces the ductility of the metal.
One of the principle benefits of aluminium is that not only is it 100% recyclable but it is much more cost effective to recycle than to produce prime, new metal. It is estimated that the production of aluminium by recycling requires approx. 5% of the energy required to extract and produce new aluminium. In addition to this, the CO2 emissions produced are greatly reduced when producing aluminium through recycling. Because of both the cost effectiveness and the reduced greenhouse gases produced when using recycled metal, aluminium manufacturers will always use recycled material where possible.
Aluminium suffers no loss in quality through recycling either so it can be recycled many times over at a fraction of the cost to producing new metal.
Aluminium is a good conductor of electricity and heat. Compared to copper, aluminium has approx. 61% electrical conductivity, however, has only a third of the weight and a much reduced cost. As well as being a good electrical conductor, aluminium is also a very good conductor of heat. It is for this reason why, aluminium is often used as heat sinks on electrical products where there is a need to cool a product down such as a computers mother board, or, a LED light.
One of the leading suppliers of aluminium products across the UK
thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) are a long established supplier of aluminium. You can rely on our industry-leading technology, service and capacity to deliver large and small orders. We also supply and stock bespoke sections for your specific application. Regardless of the size of your order or specifications thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) will deliver high-quality materials and on time.
Aluminium plays an essential role in different industries such as transportation, architecture, construction, motorsport and aerospace.
thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) have experts with specific industry knowledge who can help identify the right product at the best price. Whether it be throat to height ratios on bespoke extrusion or span widths of architectural panels, we have the experience and the products to help.
Common grades provided
thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) offer a wide range of aluminium products. We have different grades of aluminium readily available for large and small customers and for different purposes. Our aluminium grades include the highly common 6063, which is commonly used for general fabrications, and 6082, which is available in angles, sections and bars and is used for structural applications.