Aluminium was discovered over 200 years ago, and after its initial period of development, aluminium was used during many structural applications. However, it was first used massively in the 1920s when it was mainly used towards decorative detailing. As such, the breakthrough came when it was used to help build structures such as the Empire State Building which included using the material in the interior and its famous spire. However, this material has definitely come far as it is now recognised as one of the most sustainable and efficient construction materials.

Along with the advantages of using this material, there are also some disadvantages too. We have taken a look at some of them below:

Advantages

Environmentally Sustainable

As mentioned briefly above, aluminium is a very sustainable material as it can be recycled. Composed of anywhere from 50-85% of recyclable material, aluminium used in structures such as skyscrapers can enhance a greener building design.

Reducing Costs

As aluminium reflects sunlight, this allows buildings to stay much cooler during the warmer months, which can help reduce electricity costs. By utilising this material and large glass windows, you can often save on heating and lighting costs. With so many environmental and financial benefits, aluminium is quickly becoming one of the most preferred materials for structures around the world.

Strong & Weatherproof Buildings

Another benefit of using aluminium in structures is because of its strength and durability. This material can stand up to a significant amount of weight without causing the building to be too heavy. Buildings constructed with aluminium can support heavy glass panes that promote natural sunlight throughout the building.

Flexible

Due to the characteristics of aluminium like being durable, strong and light, it does make it an ideal material for the construction industry. As such, due to its flexibility, it can be curved, extruded and cut into incredible shapes. It does not matter where this material is cut, as it resistant to corrosion and trimmed edges do not need to be protected.

Disadvantages

More Expensive Than Steel

If you are working on a large building project, you will want to save money where possible. Unfortunately, aluminium is more expensive when compared to steel. Additionally, because it can’t take the same stress as steel, you will have to use more of it; meaning more costs.

Welding Process

When working with aluminium in construction, it is welded differently to steel making it a little harder to use. Aluminium requires special processes to be welded which can be costly and take a little longer than other methods.

Weight

Aluminium can dent, scratch more easily and of course, is much lighter when compared to steel. Steel is strong and less likely to warp, deform or bend under any weight, force or heat. Nevertheless, the strength of steel’s trade-off is that steel is much heavier and denser than aluminium.

Choosing the right material completely depends on your given project, as aluminium can be the right material for the job. With a number of advantages and disadvantages, there are many different materials to choose from.

However, there is no denying that aluminium will become even more widely used throughout the construction industry as pressure grows for buildings that are flexible, easy to maintain and offer low cost-in-use.

It is important to remember that no construction material is perfect. Timber can be greatly affected by moisture, has limited structural capabilities requires maintenance and cannot be machined into complex shapes. Steel is one of the most popular materials but has a relatively poor strength to weight ratio, cannot be thermally broken, rusts in an untreated state and can sometimes be prone to brittle fractures.

Whether you need a structural engineer or someone to assist with your planning applications in Cornwall, here at Martin Perry Associates we provide a range of services from surveying to party wall services. If you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01579 345777.