Aluminum Coil: An Earth-Friendly Industrial Material

Whether a project calls for aluminum foil (thinner than 0.006 inches in thickness) or aluminum sheet (0.006 inches to 0.070 inches in thickness), aluminum coil is behind the manufacturing process. Aluminum coil is formed by taking one continuous strip of aluminum and coiling it into a roll.

Some of the advantages of aluminum coil is that it is lightweight, heavy duty and able to resist corrosion. By a process called anodizing, whereby the aluminum surface is coated with a protective oxide, that corrosion resistance can be improved even further. As a result, manufacturers who need to increase their productivity and require parts that can withstand the elements rely on aluminum coil to get the job done.

Why might they opt for aluminum coiling over another durable material like steel or copper? At about 33% the density and weight of steel, aluminum renders parts that are much lighter, thereby reducing handling costs and shipping fees. What’s more, is the cost is about 50% that of copper.

In fact, according to the Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News, aluminum versus copper has become “The Great Condensing Coil Debate.” In that article published by the industrial news source, while controversy stirs about one versus the other, one thing is clear. Condensing coils made from aluminum have made air conditioning more affordable. “That (aluminum coil) brought the cost of an a/c system down, making it more palatable to consumers and builders.”

But the heating, ventilation and air conditioning sector isn’t the only industry in which aluminum coil is used. The transportation industry, in fact, is the largest user of the product in the United States, accounting for close to 30% of all that is produced in the nation. Indeed, the average car driven in this country contains over 275 pounds of aluminum, and some luxury car makers use aluminum sheeting to make the entire bodies of their vehicles. Perhaps that’s why aluminum has become the most abundantly produced non-iron metal.

In the construction industry, aluminum coil is also being used more and more frequently as trim to cover base materials on homes. Because the aluminum can be anodized with a decorative oxide and comes in a wide variety of colors, it provides a pleasing finishing feature. Best of all, it is easy to install, making it a nice home project for the do it yourselfer. The most typical way in which aluminum coil is put to use in homes is as a trim finish for windows, soffit boarding, siding and roof edging.

Beyond these industrial advantages, aluminum is extremely kind to the environment thanks to its ability to be recycled. That ecological friendliness is further enhanced by aluminum’s ability to be recycled an infinite number of times. In the transportation industry alone, that adds up to substantial benefits to the earth. In concrete terms, the average car is made up for about 7% aluminum, yet aluminum amounts to around 40% of the total material scrap value of the average vehicle at the end of its useful life.

Aluminum Can Recycling Benefits

Aluminum has been used for thousands of years. Today, it can be found in a wide array of applications, with one of the most common uses being in canned foods and drinks. Since canned food consumption is so prevalent, it has made recycling metal cans an integral part of minimizing wastes and unnecessarily space in landfills. The best part is that aluminum can be continually recycled indefinitely.

Besides avoiding wasted space in landfills with aluminum cans, recycling aluminum is also an energy saver, which is also an environmental benefit. The energy savings is pretty astounding. It takes just five percent of the energy needed to create aluminum from scratch. That’s because making new aluminum cans requires a lot of electricity to turn aluminum oxide into aluminum.

In addition to the environmental motives for recycling aluminum cans, there is a financial incentive in doing it. Even when you take into account the cost of collecting, separating, and recycling aluminum cans, it is much more cost effective than producing new aluminum cans.

History of Aluminum Can Recycling

Believe it or not, aluminum can recycling is not a particularly new process. Recycling aluminum has been around since the early 20th century. In 1904, the first aluminum recycling plants opened in Chicago and New York. Recycling played a significant role in supporting Allied forces in World War II. Today, it plays a major role in our aluminum production. According to 2008 statistics, about 31 percent of all aluminum that is made in the United States comes from recycled scrap metal.

How Aluminum is Recycled

Here is an abbreviated version of how aluminum is recycled once it gets to the recycling facility:

First, a processing facility sorts the aluminum from other materials. The process uses eddy current, an electrical current that helps separate aluminum from the other materials. The aluminum is then cut into small equal pieces to minimize volume which makes it easier on the machines that separate them. Next the pieces are cleaned and put in large blocks to minimize oxidation. The blocks of aluminum are loaded into a furnace and heated to about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit to produce a molten composition. Dross, the solid impurities that are found floating on the molten metal, is then removed from the metal. Samples are taken and then analyzed.

The Future of Aluminum Recycling

The future appears to be bright for aluminum recycling. According to industry estimates, recycling rates are expected to grow by 75 percent over the next 10 years. The growth in recycling has gone from 13.7 million tonnes in 2003 (the metric equivalent of about 30.2 billion pounds) to about 19.4 million tonnes in 2009 (about 42.7 billion pounds).

Prevent Aluminum Toxicity

Minerals if present in excess or in varying but dangerous proportions in our diet could cause serious health hazards. The most prevalent of metal toxicity found now days is aluminum toxicity. Aluminum toxicity could lead to health hazards such as speech problems, memory loss, headaches, anemia, kidney dysfunction, liver problems, extreme nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, softening of bones, colic problems, and problems related to normal metabolic activities of the body etc. Aluminum toxicity is observed to cause disorders resembling Alzheimer’s disease at times.

The ease with which aluminum gets absorbed into our blood stream is extremely quick and swift. As aluminum does not get excreted through urine it remains within the body for some time. If this aluminum content within the body and blood stream exceeds the ability of the body to wipe it out this excess of aluminum could get deposited within the organs including the heart.

The content of aluminum in muscles, brain, spleen, bones and liver and other essential and vital body organs could seriously hamper the normal mental poise of any individual. The mental composure of a person is easily degraded due to such stagnation of high aluminum content within the body. Aluminum toxicity is a subject of grave concern to be addressed by both the medical professionals as well as the common man who in the end consumes these items of aluminum toxicity. Aluminum toxicity could also lead to seizures sometimes.

It is obviously true that we need minerals and metal to a certain degree in our body for its proper functioning. But when their contents reach or cross this safe level then the person has to become conscious of the excess content and should take steps necessary to bring them down by flushing them out. Also their further consumption should be completely checked. Aluminum toxicity when accompanied with deficiencies of other essential minerals like calcium could actually worsen the condition.

Studies have concluded that on an average a person consumes about three to ten milligrams of aluminum on a daily basis. This is essentially an indicator of the abundance of aluminum on the surface of earth. This abundance is the reason why aluminum easily finds its way into our human body through naturally occurring raw vegetables and crops. This aluminum is enough to get deposited later in our bodies to cause health issues and hazards. Aluminum traces are also traced in the natural environment as deposits like air, water and soil. With such an abundance of aluminum around us good precautionary steps should be taken to make sure that we are not taking in surplus contents of the mineral into our blood stream.

A most popular means through which aluminum enters our blood stream is through the cooking utensils. Aluminum toxicity mainly occurs when food gets cooked in or served from aluminum containers. There are a number of measures advisable so that the intake of aluminum is reduced to safe levels. Getting rid of aluminum containers and consuming more of fiber rich vegetables and food items are the two basic and easy steps that could be easily followed. As is always said prevention is better than cure ensure that the food you consume doesn’t lead to aluminum toxicity.