Thanks to its lightness, durability, resistance to corrosion and thermal impact, aluminium is one of the most desirable base metals in machinery building.
Items made from rolled aluminium, cast aluminium and extruded aluminium are used as a basis for machine building to manufacture strong structural elements, machine parts and various mechanisms.
Nowadays, between 50% and 90% of the total mass of planes and spacecraft comes from aluminium. Aluminium allows the engineer to create lightweight, energy-efficient, corrosion-resistant machines with maximum capacity.
In aviation, 2xxx, 3xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx, 7xxx, and 8xxx series aluminium alloys are used. The 7075 alloy is most widely used in aviation construction, made from aluminium, zinc, magnesium and copper. In terms of durability, this alloy can take on the average-strength steel (tensile strength of over 520 MPa), but the alloy is three times lighter.
Aviation builders continue to search for materials that can be used to build lighter aircrafts. The best prospects in this regard are the new aluminium-lithium and aluminium-scandium alloys.
Aluminium oxide is also a solid fuel for rocket boosters, accelerating the first phase of spacecraft. For example, the rocket- ‘Saturn-5’ has the highest capacity in the world, capable of completing an orbit of the earth with a 140-tonne load, while burning 36 tonnes of aluminium oxide powder in flight.
Aluminium carriages are three times lighter than steel. Their high cost pays off in the first two years of operation due to transporting large amounts of cargo. In contrast to steel, aluminium does not rust, and long-lasting aluminium carriages decrease in value by less than 10% over 40 years of use.
Aluminium carriages are used nowadays for transporting coal, ore, minerals and acids. Aluminium is also being employed in the manufacture of long-distance high-speed trains. Due to the lightness of the metal, the train is also lighter, decreasing the slowing movement that causes rail deflection. The welded bodies of the first Russian high-speed train Sapsan and electric train Lastochka are made entirely of aluminium alloys.
The bodies of modern vessels are produced using a range of aluminium alloys, thanks to which they are highly resistant to corrosion, both in freshwater and at sea. The most important quality of aluminium for shipbuilding is that it is easy to weld.
The most desirable aluminium-magnesium alloys compared to steel alloys for use in shipbuilding corrode 100 times slower. Moreover, the fact that aluminium is long lasting is highly valued in shipbuilding. Welded aluminium is malleable and even a strong impact will not damage the framework.
From the body to the superstructure, sporting boats are almost entirely made of aluminium, which makes them light and quick. Heavy-duty bodies are made mostly from steel, but their superstructure and other auxiliary equipment are made from aluminium, which makes them lighter and increases loading capacity.
Aluminium is also actively used in the military industry, including in the manufacture of armoured equipment, artillery units, missiles and incendiary substances. High purity aluminium is widely used in technical fields such as nuclear power, semi-conductor electronics and radiolocation. In the oil, gas and chemical sectors, it is highly recommended to use containers made with aluminium to store corrosive liquids. Aluminium alloys are also used in the construction of pipelines and drill pipes, casing and tubing string for the oil sector. Due to its low weight and resistance to the cold and to the effects of hydrogen sulphide, aluminium pipes are cheaper for building and operating wells.