Aluminium is used in many different products. From technical devices to construction and even furniture. As well as the technical specifications, there is another good reason for this: aluminium is durable.
Aluminium durable? Many don't believe this to be the case. This is mainly due to the high energy demand in production. Yet it is still a durable material. How exactly is that? Read on to find out.
Aluminium is durable from extraction to end use
Aluminium is the most common metal on earth and is extracted from bauxite ore. As a result it will not quickly become scarce compared to other materials. 30 km2 of new surface area is utilised annually for the extraction. The largest part of that surface area is made of forest areas. In order to minimize the impact on the landscape, rehabilitation plans have been drawn up. In doing so the areas mined will on completion be returned to its original state as much as possible.
Sustainable energy sources are used in the production of aluminium
The primary production of aluminium is an energy-intensive process. As such 3.5% of the worldwide energy consumption is used in primary aluminium production. However, the energy consumption for aluminium has been reduced by 70% since 1900. In addition, more and more clean energy sources such as hydropower are being used. As such Rusal, the largest aluminium producer in the world, produces 90% of their aluminium using hydroelectricity.
Aluminium is durable due to its long lifespan
Aluminium is especially durable in end-use. In this way aluminium lasts for decades and the cut off value of aluminium's lifespan in the construction sector is 60 years. The required energy in combination with the long life span is what makes aluminium durable. In addition to the long life span, the material is also low- maintenance. That is, aluminium requires less maintenance than other metals.
Aluminium has a long lifecycle
At the end of the lifespan the majority of the aluminium is recycled. Aluminium can be recycled without degradation. This makes the material even more durable. Furthermore, secondary production consumes 95% less energy than the primary production.
The long life cycle therefore makes aluminium a very durable type of metal. Countless years will pass before the material reaches the end of its life. When aluminium reaches the end of its life cycle, the vast majority is recycled. According to The International Aluminium Institute 75% of the aluminium that was ever produced is still in use.
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