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Aluminum in construction

The aluminium element was discovered 200 years ago. After an initial period of technological development, aluminium alloys were used in many structural applications, including civil engineering. Aluminium is the second most widely defined metal in construction after steel, and is used in all sectors from commercial buildings to local housing.


This article contains a full overview of the use of aluminium in building construction and its benefits in the construction of modern buildings. It also raises some questions about whether aluminum is sustainable, a fast track manufacturer, and requires maintenance.




1.1 Why is aluminum a very important and popular material in construction?


Aluminium is the second most specific metal in buildings after steel, and is used in all construction sectors, from commercial buildings to local housing. 40% of the UK's annual aluminium production is used in the construction industry, equivalent to approximately 150,000 tons of aluminium per year, of which about 65,000 tons of extruded products and 25,000 tons of sheets




The main sectors where aluminum is used are windows, roofing, cladding, curtain walls, structural glazing, prefabricated buildings, architectural equipment, H&V, shop equipment and sections. Aluminium is also widely used in factories, stairs and scaffolding.

The basic smelter aluminum is pure and, therefore, enjoys relatively low strength. For clouds and other manufactured components, materials are manufactured in order to improve their strength, although the most wrought aluminum is still 92% pure.


The two most widely used series of alloys are the 5,000-series of reinforced magnesium alloys and the 6,000 series of magnesium alloys made of silicon and heat therapy. The latter is more retractable and, therefore, provides greater scope for complex forms. Silicon alloys (such as LM6) and manganese alloys (such as 3103) are also used in specific construction applications.


1.2 Aluminium - Modern-day building materials



Modern construction is more than just building construction with as many jobs as possible. In addition to functional and economic standards, aesthetic and design considerations along with the environmental requirements placed on construction projects play an equally important role. This means that the materials used are of great importance. Aluminium, a construction material of the modern era, proved itself as an important factor in the construction industry during the 20th century. Aluminium allows every possible architectural concept to be achieved - regardless of whether it is a new building or an update. Possible applications range from roof and wall facades and manufacturers of aluminum building product systems to interior decoration and living design from the world's technological pioneers - not least space, including windows, doors and balconies because companies have promoted the development of modern institutes and conservatories. Windows and facades in the areas of surface processing, thermal insulation, sound insulation, air conditioning and solar heating. With an annual domestic demand of about 500,000 tons, the construction industry is the second largest market for aluminium products in Germany, for example. Its share of the total aluminium market is 15 per cent.


The basic qualities of aluminum:



1. Strength vs. Weight


Aluminium sections are generally thinner and deeper than the steel parts equivalent to achieve the required strength and rigidity since aluminum is not affected by moisture and aluminium windows are not damaged, stuck or rotting. In door construction, the hollow section is usually used confidently, the lines of vision are improved because multi-point locks and other door furniture can be installed within the frame. This is in addition to the interior lightness and hardness of aluminum tires


2. Needs a little maintenance - low cost in use:


While aluminum has built-in natural durability (it forms an oxide-proof layer once exposed to air), most aluminium construction products are processed or painted. One way to enhance oxidation is anode; an electrolyte process that increases the thickness of the natural oxide layer from 0.000001 mm to between 0.005 and 0.025 mm (25 microns). This enhances aluminum's ability to withstand attack in aggressive environments. The natural anode process results in a silver finish similar to oxidized aluminum, but it can also offer a range of colors.


3. Manufacturing speed and configuration:


One of the main reasons for the enduring and growing popularity of aluminum is its compatibility with today's rapid construction techniques and timely demand. This does not appear anywhere more visible than the curtain walls, as the accuracy of the sections completed in the plant allows for rapid erection on site, allowing for faster internal finishing. The end result is the occupancy of the building earlier and greater profit margins for the final customer. Aluminium storefronts, window systems and door assemblies offer comparable on-site features, which are now enhanced by manufacturer-controlled automated excavators that can drill, trim, grind and surface to fine variations, allowing the easiest possible installation of iron, glass beads and other secondary components.


4. Performance guaranteed through quality control:


Although the costs of basic materials will always be important to selectors, they must be balanced against the cost of manufacturing and subsequent service performance. This is an area where aluminum is ideally suited to automate manufacturing procedures to the fullest endurance and offers many benefits. Aluminum clouds, for example, are subject to a strict quality regimen, from testing the hardness of raw extrusion to conical curvatures, deployment, scratching, manipulation, hammer and weight drops to ensure paint performance. It is this combination of quality control, excellent cost of use and systems technology that has helped develop new markets for aluminium systems companies in the health, education, entertainment and transportation sectors.


3. Recyclable aluminum at the end of the life of the building


The ability to recycle aluminium construction products has also become more important as more building owners decide to dismantle old buildings rather than demolish them. By doing so, they not only retain the scrap value of materials such as aluminium but also remove the environmental impact and the cost of dumping them in the landfill.


Aluminum recycling also reduces energy consumption. To produce aluminum from recycled materials, for example, requires only 5% of the energy required to produce aluminum from bauxite. In addition, each ton of recycled aluminum provides four tons of bauxite.


6. Aluminum can be formed in a variety of shapes:



Due to aluminum softness, aluminum can be formed in a number of shapes and features. Their uses are in no way limited to flat panels. Thus, aluminum wall cladding systems can help create some of the most attractive and functional exterior parts of today's buildings. In addition, large wall panels, whether flat or problem, require fewer joints, resulting in rapid and economical stabilization.

Aluminum wall systems are not intended for use in new construction only. Retrofit applications are also applicable, especially when the owner wants to change the building's "image." Aluminium wall panels, especially composite panels, are ideal for re-cladding old structures, as well as providing contemporary design options for all types of new buildings.


Characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and applications:


3.1 Properties


1. Durability: Aluminum building products are made of alloys, are weather resistant, corrosion resistant and fortified against harmful effects of UV rays, ensuring optimal performance over a very long service period.


2. Design flexibility:


The extrusion process offers an almost unlimited range of shapes and sections, allowing designers to integrate many functions into a single profile. Rolled products can be manufactured flat, curved, striped, or stuffed with other materials. In addition, aluminum can be deployed, drilled, riveted, installed, rolled, meated and welded in the workshop or on the site of the building.


3. Hundreds of surface finishes:


Aluminium can be painted or painted in any color with any visual effect, using any number of surface touches, in order to meet the designer's decorative needs. These processes also enhance the durability and corrosion resistance of the material, as well as provide a surface that facilitates cleaning.


4. High reflexive:


This distinctive feature makes aluminum a highly effective light management material. Aluminium solar pools can be installed to reduce energy consumption for artificial lighting and heating in winter, while aluminum shading devices can be used to reduce the need for air conditioning in summer.


5. Fire safety:


Aluminium is not burned and is therefore classified as non-combustible building materials. However, aluminum alloys will melt at about 650°C, but without releasing harmful gases. Industrial surfaces and exterior walls are increasingly made of thin aluminum cladding panels, designed to melt during a large fire, allowing heat and smoke to escape and thereby reduce damage.


6. Optimal security:


Specially designed reinforced aluminum frames can be used when high protection is needed. While glass for such applications may be heavy, the total weight of the structure remains manageable thanks to the light weight of the aluminum frame.


3.2 Advantages


1. Lightweight


Aluminium is one of the lightest commercial metals available at a density of about one third of steel or copper.


2. Excellent corrosion resistance


Aluminium has excellent corrosion resistance due to the thin layer of aluminum oxide that forms on the aluminum surface when exposed to air


3. Strong at low temperatures


When steel becomes fragile at low temperatures, aluminum increases in tensile strength and retains excellent hardness.


4. Easy to work


Aluminium can be easily manufactured in various forms such as chips, panels, geometric shapes, bars, pipes and wires.


5. Easy surface processing


For many applications, aluminum does not require protective or decorative coating;


3.3 Defects:


1. Thermal insulation was almost insufficient: aluminum is a good thermal conductor.

2. Weak water insulation due to inappropriately designed/executed links between aluminum sheets in the ceiling

3. General noise caused by rain or cold on aluminum sheets and ceiling.


3.4 Applications



The best application can be obtained in some typical cases, which is characterized by at least profit from one of the main basic characteristics: lightness, corrosion resistance and functionality. Construction applications that suit these characteristics in civil engineering are as follows:


1. Long-range roof systems in which living loads are small compared to dead loads, as in retinal space structures and geodesic domes covering large areas, such as halls and lounges.


2. Structures located in hard-to-reach places away from the manufacturing shop, where the transport economy and ease of erection are of paramount importance, such as electric transport towers, which can be carried by helicopter.


3. Structures found in corrosive or humid environments such as swimming pool surfaces, river bridges, hydraulic structures, and marine superstructures.


4. Structures containing moving parts, such as sewage plant crane bridges and moving bridges, where lightness means saving energy under service.


5. Special purpose structures, where maintenance processes are particularly difficult and must be limited, as in masts, lighting towers, antenna towers, highway gates, etc.


Aluminium Profiles:


luminium Profiles:


The main aluminum sections are usually called the names of the companies that developed them, each company develops an integrated section and calls it


However, in general, aluminum sections are according to where they are used and according to the number of glass panels attached to them:


1- Single-glass aluminum section




2- Double-glazed aluminum section




3- Aluminum section with three layers of glass



Of course, the more the number of layers of glass increases the possibility of the section on thermal insulation, sound insulation and prevention of water leakage, but in return the price of the section will rise.


Or depending on where it is used:


Such as aluminum sections used to photograph stairs, garden fences, buildings, balconies and other many uses of aluminum





Different colors are given to aluminum by dyeing them using furnace technology or so-called Power coating, there are no limitations for aluminum colors




Aluminium prices:


It is difficult to determine the prices of aluminum because it is very diverse and different, companies or manufacturers of aluminum sections buy aluminum by weight where the price of a ton is about 2890 dollars.


As for the prices in the construction projects, they depend on the type of accompanying glass, their number and sizes, color and shape. Some of them are priced per linear meter, such as balustrades, and others per square meter, such as windows, doors, and facade coatings. Prices range from $300 to thousands of dollars.