Aluminum Plates and sheets are the essential materials that are widely used in several industries. These materials are the most used form of aluminum for aerospace, transportation, and construction. Aluminum offers a variety of benefits including lightweight, strength, corrosion-resistant, etc. Products that are created from an aluminum can be easily recycled without losing their original properties. This advantage makes the material the most efficient choice for a different and wide array of industrial projects or applications. However, there is a common question about how these practical sheets and plates are made.
The journey of creating these handy and useful products starts with aluminum mining, which is used to produce these materials. Aluminum comes from a raw material called Bauxite, which exists in clay-like soil types. This is typically found a few meters underneath the surface of the ground and is plenteous around the equator. After mining bauxite, the pure material needs to be washed and cleaned of any sticking soil to it, and then it is prepared for aluminum extraction. For the extraction procedure, a process that involves a mixture of lime and hot caustic soda is utilized. The result of the heating process on the crushed bauxite and the purification of the existed crystals is the alumina need for the aluminum metal production.
The next step is creating aluminum metal. This process is done with the help of electricity and carbon. This process is called electrolyzing which is defined in using positive cathodes made of carbon. In this procedure, the alumina is converted to a liquid state with the production of CO2. This liquid substance is poured into different forms and molds that create slabs and sheet ingots. These sheets are then utilized to create aluminum plates.
In the making of aluminum plates, the sheet slabs or ingots are smoothed for having a mirror-like shine appearance, which made the product popular. These are then rolled through the rolling machines after being heated to approximately 400 centigrade degrees and tend to be around six feet wide, twenty feet long, and two feet thick. After this process, the material is rolled back and forth until the required thickness is reduced to few inches. This produces a thin sheet metal and are called hot rolling. The next step is called cold rolling in which the sheets are cooled rapidly in a process called quenching and are flattened into different thicknesses to suit a variety of applications and satisfy the needs of various clients. Straightening and stretching at this step relieve the internal stresses, and the sheet is trimmed into predetermined sizes and aged at a certain temperature to give the required properties.
Aluminum plates are stored in rolls after completing the procedure. These rolls undergo several finishes processes to create different types of aluminum products such as ACP. This is where surface treatment, annealing, and many more are done. Before shipping them to the respective companies or building owners that have ordered them, an inspection is conducted to make sure that the plates are of the required and standard quality.
Aluminum Plates Advantages
The advantages of Aluminum sheets and plates are not abbreviated in just their lightweight characteristics. These materials provide several advantages for modern residential and commercial constructions and military purposes.
Recyclable Sheet Metal
Aluminum plate’s biggest advantage is the ability to be frequently and continuously recycled. By recycling the material, 90% of the energy for producing a primary sheet plate can be saved. In addition, the material can maintain its important properties and can be utilized for feature projects.
Aluminum sheets are corrosion-resistant products that naturally generate a protective coating. This layer is extremely thin and is created when the material is exposed to humidity. Additionally, applying surface treatment such as paint-finish or anodizing can improve the overall corrosion resistance ability of the plate.
Thermal and Electrical Conductivity
Aluminum plates are the ideal conductors of electricity and heat. However, aluminum has lower conductivity in comparison to copper. This material weights about third of the copper metal, which means that an aluminum wire with half of the weight of copper wire will have the similar electrical resistance. This property makes the material perfect for building claddings that require heat insulation solutions. It can prevent heat infiltration in both warm and cold months of the year.
Reflectivity and Ductility
Aluminum panels have another benefit, which is very unique and is that it serves as a good reflector or a large mirror. It is utilized to rescue blankets and light fittings due to its ability to reflect both heat and light.
Aluminum sheets are available from 0.008 inches to 0.25 inches in thickness for different industrial purposes.
Aluminum is considered a versatile material; however, after being processed and cold it gains a noticeable strength that makes it suitable for construction applications. The colder the temperature, the stronger the material becomes.
Aluminum plates are naturally waterproof, thus they do not require frequent and pricey maintenance procedure.