Building with aluminium: The variety of shapes is virtually limitless01 September 2010 | By ALUMINIUM in construction, Material, Technology
Aluminium takes a leading role when planning and executing efficient constructions, firstly due to its advantageous properties and, secondly, as a pressed and drawn product, it can be outstandingly processed and machined. When compared with other materials and production processes, aluminium sections have specific advantages that permit superior technical and economic solutions. In September 2010, the industry presents its range of services at the ALUMINIUM in Essen.
Throughout Europe (EU 27 and EFTA), the demand in 2008 for pressed and drawn products, such as sections, tubes and bars of aluminium amounted to around 2.9 million tons, the demand in Germany last year amounted to about 700,000 tons. The largest consumer of these products is the construction sector, including solar applications, followed by the transport sector and machine building. Thanks to the multifarious forms and surfaces, extruded sections play an important part during the production of roofing, windows and doors, gratings, railings as well as fittings. System solutions based on extruded profiles, in particular, have prevailed. Windows, doors, walls, balcony and conservatory structures are supplied ready for installation.
For concrete structures, the architect can play around with the colour of the frame material, which thus favours the use of lacquered sections. By comparison, on large-scale façades with plenty of glass, the supporting structure is often “hidden”. An extreme example of this is structural glazing, with which virtually only mirrored glass is externally visible. Here, aluminium inconspicuously takes on the function of stabilization and holding, so as to limit the weightlessness and transparency of the glass structure as little as possible.
Also on trend are lattice windows, that are preferred when renovating historic buildings authentically and, increasingly, also for new builds and for the refurbishment of older buildings. In this regard, oval sections with the contour of the lattice have become noticeably thinner where an inexpensive solution is required. An interesting alternative for refurbishment is the latest combination in the windows market of aluminium and wood. This combination combines the advantages of aluminium – very high weathering resistance and elegance on the outside of the building with the comfortable ambience of wood on the inside.