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Aluminium - The green metal

Aluminium - The green metal

Aluminium is, after iron, the most often used metal.

Aluminium has a unique combination of attractive properties.

  • low weight
  • high strength
  • superior malleability
  • ease of machining
  • corrosion resistance
  • good thermal and electrical conductivity

Around 8 % of the Earth's crust is aluminium in form of various minerals. The main starting material in the production of aluminium is bauxite. Bauxite consists mainly of the oxides of aluminium, iron and silicon. The known extractable deposits are estimated to be good for 200-400 years of production at the current rate of use. The largest and most lucrative bauxite deposits are located around the equator. Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and the Republic of Guinea are major producers.

Reducing product weight with aluminium

Aluminium's low density (one third that of steel and copper) and high strength make large weight savings possible. Take cars for example; careful use of aluminium can yield weight savings of up to 300 kilos in a medium size car. For each 100 kilo of weight saved, fuel consumption is reduced on average by 0,35 litres/100 km, and emissions of the greenhous gas CO2 are reduced by 0,9 kilo/100 km.

Sustainability

Thanks to their corrosion resistance and strength, products based on aluminium generally lead long lives. Of all the aluminium ever produced, it is estimated that 75 % is still in use.

Aluminium can be recycledover and over again without losing its unique properties. By using just five per cent of the energy originally used for extraction, we get a metal with exactly the same value as primary aluminium. This gives scrap a high value and creates a strong incentive for recycling. Today, for example, 95 per cent of the aluminium content of cars is recycled.

In order to take advantage of the recycling properties Sapa Profiler AB has invested in a remelting facility in Sjunnen, on the outskirts of Vetlanda.


 

See the movie "Lucky Number 13"