Advantages of Using Aluminum Extrusion for Infrastructure

There’s a lot in the news today about infrastructure in America. Our bridges, highways, parking structures, and other essential elements are in need of repair and replacement nationwide. As communities, states, and the federal government search for affordable options that will not just “get the job done,” but provide long-lasting, safe results for the American people, more and more construction contractors and architects are pointing to the use of sustainable aluminum extrusions.

There are many advantages of using aluminum, including reduced costs and ease of fabrication. Rod and bar aluminum extrusion have long been used on America’s streets and highways to create light poles, road signs, emergency boxes, and much more. The time has come to take advantage of the good work being done at our homegrown aluminum fabrication shops and start looking to aluminum extrusion for solutions to our growing infrastructure problem.

How Aluminum Extrusion is Used
When it comes to infrastructure projects, there are many different ways that aluminum extrusion can be used. In fact, contractors are discovering more applications every day. They are now being used to create pedestrian bridges, bridge decking, parking shelters, railing, and much more. The light weight and minimal maintenance required by this amazing material make it an excellent choice for most infrastructure projects. Cost-effective, easy to assemble, quick to make, and little to no impact on the environment, sustainable aluminum extrusions are being used in many different industries across the board.

Some of the industries that count on custom or rod and bar aluminum include:

  • transportation
  • automotive
  • marine
  • aerospace
  • construction
  • lighting fixtures

The Properties of Aluminum
One of the biggest advantages associated with using aluminum extrusion is its low weight to high strength ratio. What that means to infrastructure is that it is very light, having the density of about a third that of regular steel. This low density helps it to weigh a lot less, reducing costs for shipping and transportation, making it easier for construction crews to use. However, its low weight does not effective its strength. The typical aluminum alloy has a tensile strength of 70-700 MPa. The typical tensile strength of alloys that are used in extrusion at aluminum fabrication shows is between 150-300 MPa. Also, unlike steel which is commonly used in infrastructure construction, aluminum does not become brittle at low temperatures. In fact, it’s strength increases.

Other advantages of using aluminum include malleability, which is what makes aluminum alloys so much easier to create extrusions than other types of metal. It is also easily customized further using most common machining methods, including cutting and punching, or bending and drilling. Aluminum is also an excellent conductor of both electricity and heat, making it a great choice as a replacement for copper conductors while providing the same level of conductivity. Aluminum is easy to join through the use of fusion welding, bonding, and taping, however, even better results come from custom extrusion designs, which can eliminate many of these secondary options to save time and money.

However, one of the best advantages of using aluminum is that it is naturally resistant to corrosion. This is why it is the number one choice for marine, transportation, and automotive industries. Aluminum reacts with the oxygen found in the air to form a very thin layer of aluminum oxide. This layer is extremely thin, yet it provides amazingly strong protection from corrosion, such as rust. If damaged, this ultra thin layer is self-repairing. Additional finishing can be applied, such as anodizing, which increases the thickness of the oxide layer to improve the strength of this natural protection. Aluminum is also non-magnetic and has zero toxicity, coming in third after oxygen and silicon as the most common element on the planet.

Contact Silver City Aluminum
When it comes to infrastructure projects, sustainable aluminum extrusions are a great choice. Whether you need the standard rod and bar aluminum or more custom extrusion design at our aluminum fabrication shops, Silver City Aluminum can help you to achieve your goals. Our designers and engineers can help you to explore all of the advantages of using aluminum. Give us a call at 508-542-7200 or use our website to obtain a FREE estimate for your next project.