What We’re Made Of
Al – the chemical symbol for aluminum. You’re probably familiar with our mounting hardware (if not, welcome to the blog!), but you may not be as familiar with the metal we use to make it. As it turns out, these little StandOffs are pretty unique in the world of metal hardware, so let’s take a look at what makes them so special.
We encounter aluminum on a daily basis; it holds our drinks, provides structural support to our cars and makes modern flight possible. Engineers love aluminum because it combines two important attributes: light weight and high strength. Unlike other metals, aluminum doesn’t become brittle at cold temperatures, in fact, it gets stronger! That means when commercial airliners are cruising at altitudes of more than 30,000 feet, where the temperature drops below -50 degrees Fahrenheit, aluminum is just as strong and safe as it is on the runway.
Aluminum is a great solution to high-tech and high-performance projects, but it’s also very practical. In addition to having a great strength-to-weight ratio, the US Geological Survey says that aluminum resists corrosion very well compared to other metals so you can rely on its durability as well.
It may be one of the most abundant elements, but it can also be recycled indefinitely. Rather than mining aluminum from the ground, we can source a huge amount of our aluminum from recycled materials. A peer-reviewed life-cycle assessment found that using recycled aluminum reduces energy demand 92% when compared to producing primary aluminum and, thanks to advancements in technology, more efficient processes and increased use of hydropower, primary aluminum production uses 26% less energy than was required in 1995.
You probably never guessed how advanced this common metal is! Next time you look at a set of StandOffs (or drink from a can, or fly on an airplane), you’ll have a new appreciation for this remarkable element.