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Aluminum is a product with unique properties, making it a natural partner for the building industry. Thanks to its strength, durability, corrosion resistance and recyclability, it has become an essential product for the building industry, and over the past 50 years, its use in building applications has shown continuous and consistent growth.
Applications of Aluminum in Construction and Building
Aluminum extruded, rolled and cast products are commonly used for window frames and other glazed structures, ranging from shop fronts to large roof superstructures for shopping centers and stadiums.
Aluminum can be used for roofing, siding and curtain walling, as well as for cast door handles, catches for windows, staircases, heating, and air-conditioning systems. Most recently, aluminum has played a significant role in the renovation of historic buildings.
The characteristics and properties of aluminum as a material have led to revolutionary and innovative changes in building techniques and made new architectural and engineering projects possible. Aluminum is leading the way into the future of the construction industry.
Aluminum also meets contemporary architecture’s demands for a strong but safe material.
Aluminum in Fire
Being a metal, aluminum will not burn and is therefore classified in fire protection regulations as a non-combustible construction material. Aluminum alloys will, however, melt at around 650°C (a temperature which can be reached in a fire that is contained for enough time), but this behavior is seen by fire authorities as an advantage.
Industrial roofs and external walls are increasingly made from thin aluminum cladding panels, which may be designed to melt during a major fire. This opens the building and allows heat and smoke to escape, thereby minimizing the temperature load on the structure and facilitating the extinguishing of the fire. As a result, the structure of the building can be saved, thereby avoiding the need to completely reconstruct the building or demolish it.
Moreover, aluminum panels do not release any harmful combustion gases in fire conditions.
Aluminum in Penetration Barriers
Where high security is required, specifically designed aluminum frames are used in the construction of explosion, bullet or burglar-proof windows and doors. While the glass for such applications may be heavy, the overall weight of the structure is kept down to manageable proportions due to the lightweight of the aluminum frame.
This article was updated on the 19th August, 2019.