Uses of aluminium

Common Industrial Uses of Aluminium

What is aluminium used for?

Aluminium is a versatile, widely used and abundant metal with a range of applications across various industries. We will not discuss the use of aluminium oxide, which is a compound of aluminium and oxygen found in minerals such as bauxite found in the earth’s crust and used in producing aluminium. Some of the most common uses of aluminium include:



Aluminium is used in the production of cars, trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes because of its strength, light weight, and corrosion resistance.

Aluminium has a low density, making it significantly lighter than steel. Using aluminium in transportation vehicles helps reduce overall weight, leading to improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. It is commonly used in car bodies, aircraft, and bicycles.

Aluminium naturally forms a protective oxide layer that helps resist corrosion. This makes it suitable for outdoor applications, especially in marine environments where exposure to moisture and saltwater is common.

Aluminium is highly malleable and can be easily formed into complex shapes, allowing for innovative designs and streamlined structures in vehicles. This flexibility in shaping is particularly beneficial in the aerospace industry.

Although aluminum is not as strong as steel, it offers a favorable strength-to-weight ratio. This means that aluminium structures can provide sufficient strength while keeping weight low. It contributes to improved performance and efficiency in transportation vehicles.

Aluminium is highly recyclable, and the recycling process consumes significantly less energy compared to primary production. This makes aluminium a sustainable choice for transportation, aligning with environmental goals.

In transportation, aluminium production is used in various components such as body panels, engine blocks, wheels, suspension systems, and aerospace structures. The use of aluminium helps manufacturers meet stringent regulations for fuel economy and emissions, while also enhancing vehicle performance and durability.

Uses of aluminium in transportation


Aluminium is used extensively in the packaging industry because it is lightweight, easy to shape, and provides an effective barrier against moisture, air, and light.

Aluminium is commonly used in packaging for beverages, including cans for carbonated drinks and beer. It is also used for pharmaceutical packaging, cosmetics, food containers, and flexible packaging such as blister packs and aluminium foil wraps. The use of aluminium in packaging helps preserve product integrity, enhance shelf appeal, and contribute to sustainable packaging solutions.



Aluminium is used in construction because it is lightweight, strong, and durable. It is commonly used in window frames, roofing, siding, and gutters.

Aluminium is used in various construction applications, including window frames, curtain walls, roofing, cladding, structural elements, and interior components. It offers a combination of durability, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability, making it a popular choice for modern construction projects.

Electrical and Electronics:

Aluminium is used in electrical transmission lines, electronic devices, and heat sinks because it is a good conductor of electricity and dissipates heat quickly.

Aluminium is used in various electrical applications, including power transmission lines, electrical cables, bus bars, switchgear, transformers, motors, and generators. While copper is still commonly used for many electrical applications, aluminium offers advantages in terms of weight, cost, and corrosion resistance, making it a viable alternative in certain scenarios. Proper design considerations and installation techniques are essential when using aluminium to ensure its effective and safe use in electrical systems.


Consumer Goods:

Aluminium is used in a wide range of consumer goods, including kitchen utensils, beverage cans, and foil.

Aluminum is used in a wide range of consumer goods, including electronic devices, kitchenware, furniture, sporting goods, packaging, automotive components, and personal accessories. Its combination of lightweight, durability, aesthetic appeal, and recyclability makes aluminum a popular choice for manufacturers aiming to create high-quality and sustainable consumer products.


Uses of aluminium in consumer goods

Overall, aluminium’s unique combination of properties makes it a valuable material for a variety of applications across numerous industries.


Uses of aluminium in industry

What are the properties of aluminium?

Aluminium has several unique properties that make it useful for a variety of applications. Here are some of the key properties of aluminium:

  1. LightweightAluminium has a low density, making it lightweight and easy to handle. It is about one-third the weight of steel, which makes it ideal for applications where weight is a critical factor.
  2. Corrosion resistanceAluminium forms a natural oxide layer on its surface, which protects it from corrosion. This makes it an excellent choice for outdoor applications and in corrosive environments.
  3. DuctilityAluminium is highly ductile, which means it can be easily formed into different shapes without cracking or breaking.
  4. ConductivityAluminium is a good conductor of heat and electricity, which makes it ideal for use in electrical and electronic applications.
  5. StrengthAlthough aluminium is lightweight, it is also strong and durable. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it suitable for applications where both strength and weight are important.
  6. ReflectivityAluminium is highly reflective, making it useful in applications where reflective surfaces are required, such as in mirrors or reflectors.

Overall, the unique combination of properties of aluminium makes it a valuable material for a wide range of applications across various industries.


Properties of aluminium

Disadvantages of Aluminium

Whilst aluminium has many advantages over other material, it is important to understand some of its limitations:

  1. SoftnessAluminum is a relatively soft metal compared to some others, which can make it susceptible to dents, scratches, and general wear and tear.
  2. CorrosionAlthough aluminum has a natural oxide layer that provides some protection against corrosion, it is still susceptible to corrosion, especially in certain environments such as highly acidic or alkaline conditions.
  3. Higher costAluminum production requires significant energy inputs, making it more expensive than some other materials. This higher cost can impact the affordability of aluminum-based products.
  4. Lower strength compared to some metalsWhile aluminum has good strength-to-weight ratio, it is not as strong as some other metals such as steel. In applications where high strength is crucial, aluminum may not be the ideal choice.
  5. Limited heat resistanceAluminum has a relatively low melting point compared to other metals, which limits its use in high-temperature applications. It can start to lose its structural integrity at elevated temperatures.
  6. Electrical conductivityWhile aluminum is a good conductor of electricity, it is not as efficient as copper. In applications where high electrical conductivity is crucial, such as in some electrical wiring applications, copper may be preferred.

It’s important to note that many of these disadvantages can be mitigated or managed through proper design, surface treatments, alloying, and other techniques. Aluminum continues to be widely used in various industries due to its favorable properties and versatility.


What happens when aluminium is in contact with other metals?

When aluminium comes into contact with other metals, a process called galvanic corrosion can occur.

Galvanic corrosion happens when two dissimilar metals come into contact in the presence of an electrolyte, such as saltwater or acidic solution.

In this process, the aluminium acts as an anode, which means it will corrode faster than the other metal, which acts as a cathode. This is because the electrons will flow from the aluminium to the cathode metal, leading to the breakdown of the aluminium.

The severity of galvanic corrosion depends on several factors, including the type of metal, the amount of surface area in contact, and the type of electrolyte present.

In some cases, the corrosion can be relatively mild and have little effect on the structural integrity of the aluminium. In other cases, the corrosion can be severe and lead to the failure of the aluminium component.

To prevent galvanic corrosion, it is important to use appropriate materials and coatings to separate the dissimilar metals or to avoid exposing the aluminium to electrolytes that can cause corrosion.


Aluminium reaction with other metals

What are the most common grades of aluminium?

Aluminium is available in various grades, each with different properties and suitable for different applications. Some of the most common grades of aluminium are:

  1. 1000 series: This is a soft, low-strength aluminium alloy that is often used for chemical processing equipment, light reflectors, and heat exchangers.
  2. 2000 series: This grade contains copper and is known for its high strength, toughness, and excellent fatigue resistance. It is often used in aircraft and aerospace applications.
  3. 3000 series: This grade contains manganese and is often used for applications that require good formability, such as kitchen utensils, food and beverage packaging, and automotive parts.
  4. 5000 series: This grade contains magnesium and has excellent corrosion resistance, making it ideal for marine and architectural applications.
  5. 6000 series: This is the most commonly used aluminium alloy for structural applications, such as in construction and transportation. It has good formability, strength, and corrosion resistance.
  6. 7000 series: This grade contains zinc and has the highest strength of all aluminium alloys. It is commonly used in aircraft and aerospace applications, as well as high-stress structural components.

These are just a few examples of the most common grades of aluminium. The choice of the right grade depends on the specific application requirements, such as strength, corrosion resistance, formability, and cost.