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Facts about aluminium

The material comes with countless fascinating properties. It’s amazing what benefits this silvery metal brings to a whole range of applications. The many characteristics of aluminium make it ideal for diverse applications and purposes. Aluminium is strong, lightweight and sustainable. And these are just a few of the important properties that impact on every stage, from processing to final use. Read on for fascinating facts about aluminium.

Aluminium has a wound-healing effect

Did you know that the name “aluminium” is derived from “alumen”, which is Latin for alum? Babylonian physicians discovered the wound-healing properties of alum (potassium aluminium sulphate) more than 4,000 years ago. It is still used medicinally today, for example in alum sticks applied to cuts after wet shaving. The alum causes the skin to contract so that the wound heals faster. The secret of how to refine and produce today’s aluminium, especially in alloy form, remained undiscovered for almost 200 years. The knowledge and procedures eventually developed for the use of aluminium (and its alloys) still benefit us today. Our STEP-G casting and production sites reflect the metal’s importance now and for the future. Find out more here.

Aluminium has been in use since AD 14

Did you know that, according to legend, aluminium was worked as early as in the days of Tiberius Caesar (AD 14 to 37)? The story goes that a metalworker produced a vessel for the emperor from a new material derived from earth with a high clay content. For a time after its discovery, aluminium was more expensive than gold. Today, aluminium is everywhere: in containers, vehicles, packaging, furniture, buildings and so much more. STEP-G supports and supplies customers in every application field. From service to delivery, our aluminium profiles are always tailored to each customer’s requirements. Interested? Find out more here.

Aluminium is versatile

Did you know that Hans Christian Oersted produced the first aluminium in 1825, although in impure form? This means the first form of aluminium is now 196 years old and we will be able to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2025. The Bayer process is applied to convert the mineral bauxite into pure aluminium oxide. This is refined to produce the metal aluminium and the alloys we are familiar with today. The various applications require different properties. At STEP-G we meet these specific customer requirements, ranging from cast billets in our STEP-G casting in Hettstedt to extrusion of billets in our production plants and further processing.

Aluminium can be completely recycled

Did you know that more than half of the aluminium produced in Germany originates from a holistic recycling system? The vast advantage is that aluminium can be melted down any number of times without any loss of quality. What’s more, the production of secondary aluminium uses 95 percent less energy. Our own STEP-G casting in Hettstedt is dedicated to a holistic, sustainable material flow. Scrap is melted down and cast into new billets for the specific fields of application. Interested? Find out more here.

Aluminium is corrosion-resistant

Did you know that aluminium reacts with air to create a layer of oxide? The oxide layer protects it from further corrosion, which is why aluminium doesn’t rust like other metals such as steel. This makes aluminium capable of additional refinement for even better visual appearance and resistance. Typical finishing methods are anodising, cathodic dip-coating and powder coating. The result is a coating which is resistant to solvents, corrosion, acids and alkalis. For example, it is impervious to de-icing salt used on roads. These forms of surface treatment improve the resistance and durability of the aluminium. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure we always supply high quality to our customers.

Aluminium can be customised to requirements

Did you know that aluminium alloys can be adapted to specific application fields so that the material properties ideally match customer requirements? By adding various alloy metals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, nickel or zinc, the material characteristics can be adapted to the application. Did you know that our STEP-G casting in Hettstedt is a specialist in high-strength alloys and customer-specific requirements? With our in-house metallurgists we create the best solutions for our customers, supporting them as a strategic partner and supplier.

Aluminium is non-magnetic

Did you know that the lightweight and non-magnetic properties of aluminium make it vital to electrical engineering, electronics and mechanical engineering? Thanks to these properties, aluminium helps ensure excellent mobility and precision for robots and handling equipment. The metal’s corrosion resistance and strength extend the service life of components, making it especially attractive in mechanical engineering. From service to supply, our customer orientated approach focuses on individual specifications. Interested? Find out more here.

Aluminium is a common resource on our planet

Did you know that aluminium is the third most common element on Earth – after oxygen and silicon? So there is more aluminium than iron on our planet. Assuming a consistent level of consumption, current resources will be enough for many generations to come. You can find out more about our commitment to sustainability and environmental protection here.

Aluminium is a sustainable reflector

Did you know that aluminium is not only a great reflector of light and heat, but also stores cold and heat? The high energy efficiency of reflectors reduces energy consumption, and makes aluminium consistently superior to other metals in this respect. At the same time, aluminium’s temperature-storing capability means it is an ideal material for keeping food fresh. Also used  for emergency blankets. We think these are great properties! Sustainability is a major focus for STEP-G – find out more here.

Aluminium can be freely shaped

Did you know that aluminium is so flexible it can be formed into any shape? What’s more it is easy to work – whether cold or hot. All these great properties mean aluminium can be used practically everywhere – from hubcaps to machine components, from furniture to kitchen utensils. Different alloys further improve the properties of aluminium to suit specific technical applications.

Aluminium is low-maintenance

Did you know that aluminium requires little maintenance? The metal reacts with oxygen to develop an oxide coating. The coating is corrosion-resistant and protects the aluminium. Therefore, aluminium components need less replacement or maintenance than parts made from other metals such as steel. Less work and longer service life are also good for the environment. To meet their diverse requirements, we offer our customers a whole range of surface finishes. Find out more here.

Aluminium is a lightweight

Did you know that aluminium only weighs a third as much as steel? To be precise, steel weighs 7.87 g/cm3, while aluminium comes in at just 2.7 g/cm3. That makes it ideal for lightweight construction in various industries such as the automotive or transport industries. The low weight provides clear advantages in handling by robots or on construction sites – and that also applies to a greater extent in the transport industry. The reason is that the light weight translates into lower energy consumption. All this makes aluminium a supremely versatile material.

Aluminium is energy efficient

Did you know that aluminium is fully recyclable? It retains its properties even after melting and recycling. Furthermore, recycling uses just 5 percent of the energy required to produce primary aluminium. STEP-G sorts and recycles used aluminium and successively feeds it back into the economic cycle. With our own casting equipment, we help boost the status of the material as well as the recycling industry itself.