Aluminum has changed the way architects used to look at their jobs at hand. The metal, a versatile combination of unique physical and chemical properties, gives much-needed liberty to the new-age architects in terms of designing while catering to the changing preferences of the consumers worldwide. It has all the features of a great construction material.
Durability of Aluminum Facades:
Aluminum when alloyed with elements such as silicon, magnesium, and zinc in optimal quantity becomes reasonably durable, which is a must for any construction material. These alloying elements increase the strength-to-weight ratio of the white metal while enhancing its corrosion resistance and UV-shielding capacity.
Maintenance of Aluminum Facades:
It goes without saying the more durable a material is, the lower is its maintenance cost. Aluminum facades and construction systems are highly durable; plus, they are additionally pre-treated and coated. So, they do not rust and can endure substantial environmental stresses.
However, long-term exposure to environmental pollutants does make it necessary for the aluminum facades to be cleaned at regular intervals. This helps keep the sheen of the metal intact and preserve its decorative finish and overall aesthetic value for almost indefinite period. Method as simple as pressure wash is sufficient for cleaning anodized aluminum façades while all one needs to do to clean powder-coated aluminum structural components is using a mild detergent solution. For project-specific maintenance, however, especially in case of industrial constructions, one should always approach technical consultants in order to get the best result and avoid downtime as much as possible.
Aluminum facades and corrosion resistance:
Most aluminum construction materials are pre-treated; hence, the question of corrosion is negated at the first place. But, even untreated aluminium is corrosion-resistant because of the thin layer of aluminum oxide that is naturally formed on it when exposed to air- a process called passivation. On anodizing the thickness of this protective layer of aluminum oxide increases manifold, thereby further reducing the possibility of getting corroded.
In extreme climatic conditions, the special maintenance program must be adopted to protect aluminum facades from threat of corrosion.
Combustibility of Aluminum:
Aluminum is classified as a non-combustible material for construction. It is not inflammable, but melts when subjected to temperatures as high as 600 degree Celsius.
It has been observed that aluminum facades having combustible thermos-plastic cores between two sheets of the metal have the tendency to catch fire. But such facades are banned in almost all countries, as clearly they do not comply with the global fire-safety standards. Recently, in the wake of a few fire incidents in the United Arab Emirates, which were thought to be caused due to the use of combustible aluminium facades, the Building and Construction industry has become doubly careful about the issue.
With an appetite for a minimalist design and environmentally friendly and low-weight materials growing stronger, the demand for aluminum facades will rise steadily. Moreover, escalating energy cost and the dramatically increasing focus on CO2 emissions are also expected to drive demand for new, more sustainable building solutions in the years to come.