While most of the metal conduits are made from galvanized steel, some are also made from aluminum. The benefits of aluminum products are well-known across many different industries, but when you add in things like custom aluminum coating solutions and consider all of the properties of aluminum, it is surprising that aluminum extrusion and fabrication is not the most common type of metal electrical conduits. There are a couple of different types of metal conduits used for residential and commercial applications, including the RMC or Rigid Metal Conduit, the EMT or Electrical Metallic Tubing, the FMC or Flexible Metal Conduit, and the IMC or Intermediate Metal Conduit. While some of these are only made from other metals, most can be made from extruded aluminum.
To help you understand a little bit about each of these types of metal electrical conduits, here is a short run-down of each:
- RMC – typically used for the service-entrance mast that is used to attach to the base of the electric meter; stiffer, heavier and stronger than any of the other types of metal conduits, the RMC protects the service-entrance conductors from damage
- FMC – easy to identify, this flexible tubing is helically wound and is made most often of aluminum; cannot be used outside or in other wet locations, so it is limited in where it can be used; indoor use for ovens, cook tops, furnaces and heat pumps, wherever flexible connections are required
- EMT – very thin and inexpensive, this type of metal electrical conduit is used most often indoors and outdoors to provide protection from physical damage, including exposed wiring for light fixtures, electrical receptacles and other residential and commercial areas
- IMC – while thicker than EMT, the IMC is still thinner than RMC; used by some electricians instead of RMC because it is more cost-effective, lighter in weight and easier to use
Why Choose Aluminum?
If you have ever studied the properties of aluminum, chances are good that you already understand the benefits of aluminum products, especially in relation to metal electrical conduits. Extrusion and fabrication through experienced and knowledgeable facilities, such as Silver City Aluminum, can help to make extruded aluminum electrical conduits even more affordable and cost-effective for both residential and commercial applications. Custom aluminum coating solutions can be used to enhance some of the natural properties already found in aluminum, making these parts and products even more valuable and beneficial to the consumer.
Here are the ten top reasons why you should choose aluminum for metal electrical conduits:
- Light in Weight – One of the most well-known properties of aluminum is that it is light in weight. Compared to steel, which is also commonly used for metal electrical conduits, aluminum is one-third the density, but this does not affect its strength.
- Strong and Durable – The tensile strength of most aluminum alloys used in extrusion for metal electrical conduits is between 150-300 MPa. At low temperatures, the strength of aluminum increases and does not become brittle like most steel grades.
- Easy to Machine – Whatever you need to do with regard to extrusion and fabrication of aluminum and aluminum alloys, it can be easily worked using most secondary operations, including milling, cutting, bending, drilling and punching, allowing for unlimited customization opportunities.
- Malleability – Aluminum is extremely malleable, making it perfect for extrusion and fabrication across many different industries. It’s malleability is what makes it so great for extrusion, whether the metal is hot or cold.
- Joining – While the properties of aluminum make it easy to join, weld and bond, the use of extrusion and fabrication can eliminate some of these procedures, having incorporated the features into the design.
- Reflective – Aluminum is very reflective, and can be used to reflect visible light, as well as radiated heat, which makes it perfect for metal electrical conduits and other related uses.
- Screening & Shielding – Boxes that are made from aluminum can be designed to be tight enough to screen off and shield electromagnetic radiation. Aluminum is conductive and has many shielding and protective qualities.
- Corrosion Resistance – One of the most unique benefits of aluminum products is the natural ability of aluminum to form a thin layer of protective oxide after the aluminum reacts to exposure to oxygen in the air. While the layer is extremely thin, it provides protection against corrosion and it is self-repairing if it becomes damaged. Custom aluminum coating solutions, such as anodizing, can provide even more strength and thickness to this natural layer of protection.
- Non-Magnetic – Another great attribute that contributes toward effectiveness as a metal electrical conduit, aluminum is non-magnetic and does not cause interference of magnetic fields. As a result, aluminum is frequently used in magnet x-ray devices and other equipment that relies on magnetic fields.
- Conductivity – With or without custom aluminum coating solutions, one of the biggest benefits of aluminum products that makes it perfect for use with metal electrical conduits, is its ability to be an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. The lightweight properties of aluminum provides great results at almost half the weight of copper conductors.
Extrusion and Fabrication for Industry
Many different industries rely on the properties of aluminum and the benefits of extrusion and fabrication to create custom and standard aluminum products for consumer and professional use. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of aluminum products or would like to get started designing your own custom aluminum extrusions, contact Silver City Aluminum by calling 508-542-7200. Our team will walk you through the process of choosing between secondary operations, custom aluminum coating solutions, and other features and services, as well as help you maximize all of the benefits of aluminum products for your industry solutions and applications. Call today for a FREE estimate on any of our professional services.