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What We Can Do From Aluminium

Some examples for what can we use this light metal

the following are a few examples of applications in which manufacturers, in collaboration with sapa, have exploited several of the green properties of aluminium and aluminium profiles to apply all or some of the 10 golden rules in ecodesign.


By using aluminium in cars it is possible to make weight savings of up to 50 per cent compared with other materials in most applications. this is achieved while maintaining safety levels.The average european car contains 132 kg of aluminium (2008). in the short term, aluminium can be used for a number of other components without requiring major redesign. this would easily allow the average weight to be reduced by 40 kg.This figure also includes secondary savings that could be made as a result of
the weight savings. other parts of the car, including the drive train, brakes, fuel tank and crash safety system could be made smaller while still maintaining performance.
The average weight of a passenger car has increased dramatically since the 1970s. there is obviously a direct connection between weight and fuel consumption, and it has become increasingly important to reduce weight in order to cut vehicle Co2 emissions.


Road Signs

Blinkfyrar originally made its road signs from sheet metal with folded edges. today, its main product is a modular system based on profiles that slide into each other and are clamped together. The result is a tight joint and a flat sign that withstands loads and stresses from all directions without the need for additional reinforcement and bracing. this makes it possible to construct one-legged signs.

This design permits rapid on-site installation, is cost-effective and, even more importantly, improves safety. the swedish road
administration wants to minimise installation time, since working in traffic poses a significant risk to employees. The sign itself is applied as a self-adhesive, reflective foil. the profile is very rigid, which is important to avoid abrasion of the reflective material as a result of flexing and deformation. Despite the fact that these structures are exposed to wind, weather and air pollutants, they have a long life. the corrosion resistance of aluminium is important in this respect. the lifetime of road signs is further prolonged by the fact

that they can be updated with new text. damaged signs are recycled.



Trucks and Buses

Every kilogram of aluminium used in a tractor unit, such as the scania unit on the right, reduces Co2 emissions by around 28 kg.


reducing the weight of trucks that carry heavy goods increases their freight capacity. By reducing the dead weight of the vehicle by one ton the designer can save 1500 litres of diesel per 100 000 kilometres 1). Reducing the weight of a city bus by one ton gives a fuel saving of 1700–1900 litres per 100 000 km. each kilogram of aluminium reduces Co2 emissions by 40–45 kg.
An additional benefit of choosing aluminium is the safety aspect. systems based on aluminium have the ability to absorb considerably more energy per weight during a collision than those based on traditional materials.
Adding a safety system to a vehicle means adding weight. this can often be offset by replacing a heavier material with aluminium.
it should also be noted that 95 per cent of aluminium used in vehicles is recycled.



Thermal Solar Collectors

A thermal solar collector has an efficiency of 80–90 per cent and can produce useful heat at a temperature of up to 200°C. no other solution uses the energy of the sun as effectively. By comparison, photosynthesis has an efficiency of less than 0,1 per cent.

in operation, a circulating liquid or gas, usually water and glycol, is heated by the sun. this is robust and relatively simple technology that works just as well for individual houses as it does in large properties and industrial processes.The system is reliable to operate, supplies heat and hot water without monitoring, and has a lifetime of 20 years. the technical lifetime is probably twice as long.
The frame of the solar collectors made by S-Solar is a profile with a number of integrated features – mounting, coupling to other connectors, rubber seal retainer and weather seal for the building’s climate shell. the profile replaces a design based on
folded sheet metal. this gives a longer life. The profile gives the structure rigidity, while the anodised surface withstands wind

and weather, and the metal does not corrode. thanks to the design of the profile the installation time is also cut by more than 50 per cent.The system that sapa supplies includes the frame, mounting post and mounting profile.


Leisure Boats

Linder builds canoes, rowing boats and planing boats in lengths of up to 4,6 metres using aluminium sheet and profiles. the boats are almost indestructible.Maintenance requirements are minimal. there is not even any need to repair minor damage to the hull. routine maintenance consists of washing with water. annual maintenance consists of brushing down with a little detergent and water.

The low weight of the boats saves fuel – yet another factor for ensuring that the next generation will be able to enjoy clean lakes and waterways.The alternative to using aluminium for leisure boats is often glass-fibre reinforced polyester, an oil-based product that is vulnerable to impact, blows and the stresses of beaching and grounding. plastic requires regular maintenance with
aggressive chemicals, and any damage has to be repaired immediately. worn-out boats are sent to landfill or incinerated.

aluminium can be recycled and reused for the same purpose, and only five per cent of the original energy input is required for remelting.



Buildings account for over 40 per cent of the global consumption of electricity.new energy efficiency requirements make it increasingly important that designers come up with energy-efficient solutions for buildings. much of their effort is focused on windows.

The profile section shown above has a low u-value thanks to a skeleton of fibreglass-reinforced polyamide that effectively interrupts the thermal path and reduces convection and radiation between the inner and outer aluminium profiles. The u-values of windows are falling steadily and it is becoming increasingly important that windows are securely installed. profile technology is making it
possible to create rigid designs and solutions that facilitate installation and ensure consistent high quality. Draught proofing is an increasingly important factor in efforts to improve energy efficiency. aluminium profiles are rigid in section and therefore well
suited to creating a draught proof product.
Aluminium also has very low maintenance needs. as always, the ability to recycle aluminium with low energy input is also an important benefit.