Aluminum has been referred to be a “magical metal.” It is primarily found in the form of bauxite ore, and it is the third most plentiful element in the Earth’s crust and the most abundant metal on Earth. What, however, makes it particularly well suited for usage in windows, doors, and curtain walling?
The chemical, physical, and mechanical qualities of modern-day aluminum alloys, on the other hand, are responsible for the rapid increase in global use of aluminum alloys, which is increasing by more than 5 percent each year. These are just eight of the many reasons why the market for aluminum frames in the glazing industry continues to rise, presently dominating the commercial market and giving PVC-U a run for its money in the residential sector. 1. Aluminum frames are lightweight and durable.
Aluminum is a highly light metal with a specific weight of only 2.7 g/cm3, about a third of the importance of steel or copper. It is also exceptionally corrosion-resistant. In fact, it’s one of the lightest commercially available metals. This makes it an excellent choice for window and door frames, but when it comes to curtain walling, the use of a lightweight frame is particularly vital. Curtain walls are not structural and can only support their own weight. Thus the lighter the material used, the better the result.
If you’re searching for a low-maintenance window resistant to corrosion, aluminum is the material for you. When aluminum comes into contact with air, a protective layer of aluminum oxide forms on the surface almost instantly. As a result, this layer is exceptionally resistant to corrosion caused by anything the weather may throw at it, even acid rain, and will not be affected by cleaning chemicals. Unlike timber or PVC-U frames, aluminum window frames will not expand, contract, split or warp over time, no matter how harsh the weather conditions. The corrosion resistance can be improved even more by anodizing or painting it (typically with powder coating).
The fact that aluminum is malleable and ductile (in case you forgot your high school chemistry) means that it can be shaped by pressing or drawing it into a thin wire without losing its toughness. It will not break or crack when bent or pulled into a thin wire. In other words, it is not brittle but relatively flexible. In fact, aluminum is the second most malleable metal and the sixth most ductile metal after titanium. Suppose you’re looking to install curved curtain walls or windows. In that case, this is good news since the aluminum frame profiles can be simply twisted or pressed into the desired shape without the risk of their breaking.
Aluminum is one of the most recyclable metals available. It can be recycled at a 100 percent rate. Because it is 100 percent recyclable, recycled aluminum has the same quality as virgin aluminum in appearance and performance. As a result, it can be used repeatedly without degradation. It is estimated that almost 75% of all aluminum manufactured has been recycled and is still in use today. This is encouraging news for the aluminum industry, especially when you consider that, since the first commercial quantities of aluminum were produced over 100 years ago, global demand for aluminum has increased to approximately 29 million tons per year, which is a significant increase. In addition, whereas it takes 14,000 kWh to generate one tonne of new aluminum, it only requires 5-10 percent to remelt and recycle the same amount. As a result, the carbon impact is reduced, and costs are cheaper.
Aluminum alloys are utilized to construct window door and curtain wall frames because they are incredibly robust. This is because pure aluminum does not have high tensile strength. However, when it is alloyed with other elements such as manganese, silicon, copper, and magnesium, the power of the metal is significantly increased. The tensile strength of pure aluminum is approximately 90 MPa. Still, it can be boosted to more than 690 MPa when used in an alloying process. In fact, when utilized as an alloy, aluminum, which we’ve already established is one of the lightest technical metals available, has a significantly superior strength-to-weight ratio than steel. Even more striking is that, in contrast to steel, the strength of aluminum grows as the temperature decreases. In contrast, steel becomes brittle as the temperature decreases (below 0oC). In other words, aluminum window and door frames and curtain walling can withstand even the harshest winter temperatures.
Because aluminum is easily alloyed with other elements to improve its physical qualities, as we’ve already shown, it’s a good candidate for alloying. For example, in the case of pure commercial aluminum, the strength can be improved by 20 percent by merely adding manganese to the alloy. Aluminum can also form alloys with other elements such as silicon, copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium. In this way, it is possible to create a variety of alloys with qualities that are matched to specific application requirements. Aluminum glazing companies employ aluminum alloys containing silicon and magnesium, suitable for extruding aluminum profiles because of their strength and durability. Its properties include being extremely adaptable, heat treatable, highly formable, weldable, and possessing high power and excellent corrosion resistance.
Aluminum window frames are simple to fabricate since they are created through the extrusion process, forcing the pre-heated aluminum alloy through a die to form an aluminum profile. These profiles are then put together to develop the framework for the structure. The design of these features distinguishes the window frame from other frames of a similar style. Although they can be complex designs, these intricate shapes can be accomplished utilizing a single extruded section, resulting in sturdy and long-lasting profiles. Aluminum also has good machinability, making it simple to correctly construct the aluminum profiles into the finished window frame installed in the window.
Design: Aluminum may be easily anodized or powder coated to give it a decorative smooth or textured surface that is smooth or textured in appearance. Because of this, aluminum window and door frames and curtain walling perform well and look fantastic. Anodizing is accomplished by soaking the aluminum in an acid electrolyte bath and running an electric current across it. This process transforms the metal surface into an aluminum oxide finish that is beautiful, long-lasting, and corrosion-resistant. Because the aluminum oxide is totally bonded with the underlying aluminum. It will not chip or peel, making it an incredibly durable surface material. Because aluminum oxide has a porous structure, it must be sealed to be corrosion resistant. Anodized aluminum is available in various colors thanks to the use of sealants that are either transparent or contain specific dyes to create a variety of colors. An approach is to paint the aluminum with a powder coating rather than using it raw. After the aluminum has been pre-treated, either by anodizing or by a chemical reaction, it is powder coated in any RAL color to provide a corrosion-resistant barrier. Senior Architectural System has a state-of-the-art powder coating facility in Denaby, which serves the needs of our customers. Upon exiting the guns, the pre-treated aluminum bars are grounded. The paint powder is charged electrostatically by the pre-treated aluminum. This assists in the electrostatic charge of the powder molecules are adhering to the bars, much to dust particles sticking to your television screen due to the electrostatic charge on the net! The bars are then baked in an oven. Depending on the temperature, the powder melts and hardens to form a homogeneous, flexible, smooth, weather-resistant finish for up to 25 years.
No wonder more and more people are choosing aluminum windows, doors, and curtain walling for both commercial and residential structures due to the numerous advantages that aluminum has to offer.
Source: Van der Zee kunstof kozijnen (Rotterdam)