The U.S. has the Power to Purify Aluminum for Military Gear

It seems the US is capable of producing high-quality, purified aluminum for military needs at the drop of a hat, despite the recent aluminum trade issue.


The aluminum investigation into China’s imports, begun by the Trump administration in April, was ordered to protect America’s national security against the market’s surplus of cheap aluminum. Reportedly, the investigation was opened in part to determine whether the country’s smelters could work at a production rate to satisfy wartime requirements.

In that scenario, an extra $25 million would need to be put towards fractional crystallization, the ideal way for the US to remove impurities from aluminum. It’s pricey, but it may be necessary in the coming decades.

Surprisingly, under 1% of domestic aluminum in the US is used by the Defence Department, and the country’s stores for the military metal comes out to 75,000 metric tonnes, which could last 2.5 years. On top of this, 117,000 tons are produced annually in the US alone, although Century Aluminum Company in Hawesville is the only high-purity manufacturer within its borders.

Fractional crystallization may sound advanced and expensive, but it would only exceed the costs of normal smelting by about 2%. Primary aluminum now costs $1,906 per ton, while the purified version costs $2,548 per ton. With a reasonable difference, the US will likely opt for the pricier option to protect themselves against any possible war-related occurrences.



National Security has been put in Danger by Chinese Aluminum Industry

Although the low-quality steel from China has negatively affected the US in previous years, aluminum is the new focus, and unlike steel, the US can’t produce enough on its own to meet demands. But how does that connect to national security?


Low-quality aluminum from China was fed into markets and the amount of smelters in the US dropped to a little more than one-fifth of what it was before, all upon China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization. In addition to job loss on a grand scale, high-quality aluminum used in the US to construct small planes and artillery has disappeared, threatening the country’s protection.

Due to the unlikely scenario in which the US calls upon the few other countries to import aluminum, President Trump has ordered an official investigation into the products the country has received as of late. The government hopes to get its biggest aluminum plant running at full capacity once again so as not to depend solely on China for the precious material. The plant’s production could be discontinued otherwise.

The possibility of added taxes and quotas would help, but the overproduction of aluminum in China is what truly needs fixing. The country’s government funding, which was intended to keep exportation going, is what drives the industry heads to refine more than they can handle. To truly grasp the severity of the situation, the data shows that China produces over 50% of the world’s aluminum, something that no single country has ever done before.

Fortunately, the US is taking the issue very seriously. Not only has the Trump administration set out to identify possible solutions, but the Obama administration also wrote to the World Trade Organization to request the withdrawal of China’s government funding. This potential remedy is approved by Canada, Japan, Russia, and the European Union as well, all of which play a part in the aluminum industry.

Clearly, this issue is more than a disagreement between two countries. It’s beginning to have a global effect, and no one is happy about it. The World Trade Organization will need to put something into place soon to avoid any other conflicts within the aluminum industry.


Camping Food Ideas Featuring Aluminum Foil

If you’re set on going camping this summer and you don’t know what food or accessories to bring, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Grab your aluminum foil, take a look at our favourite campsite recipes and try a few – you’re sure to love them!


For all the egg-lovers out there, beat two eggs with any veggies or spices you want in them and pour the mixture into a large ziploc bag. Seal and date the bag, keeping it cool until you need it. When you’re at the campsite, boil a pot of water and put the egg bag right in, leaving it there until the eggs are cooked the way you like them.

Take some bananas along to make banana boats. Cut each banana along its natural curve and put some chocolate, peanut butter, or marshmallows inside. Cover it in aluminum foil and place it in the coals of the fire until its contents are melted. Top it with some fresh fruit or cookie crumbs when it’s done.

Do you prefer plantains over bananas? Cut the plantain as explained above and season it with savoury toppings like cheese, onions, and bacon bits – it’ll taste like a baked potato when it’s cooked. Cover it in aluminum foil and let it cook for around forty-five minutes. Top it with chopped tomato, sour cream, or chives when it’s done.

If you’re jonesing for fajitas, place green peppers, black beans, grated cheese, taco sauce, and some chopped chicken or ground beef in the middle of two overlapping pieces of aluminum foil. Wrap the mixture in the foil and cook for around thirty minutes.

For apple cinnamon oatmeal, remove half of the inside of an apple and fill it with oatmeal, cinnamon, brown sugar, and water. Cook the apple in two layers of aluminum foil until soft. Another easy breakfast option is cinnamon rolls, cooked by either wrapping the dough around a skewer or placing the dough inside an orange peel wrapped in aluminum foil.

Cereal eaters can fill a ziploc bag with some cereal and pour it into a plastic drinking cup when it’s time to eat it, adding as much milk as desired. Eat with a plastic spoon for easy post-breakfast clean-up. If you’re a pancake person, bring along a ziploc bag of premixed batter and cut off a corner to squeeze it into an aluminum pan over the fire.

Ice cream cone s’mores are a new take on the fireside favourite that uses an aluminum foil-wrapped cone to hold fruit, chocolate, marshmallows, peanut butter, and even mini cakes. Cook these treats on your fire’s coal until contents are warm. Top them with sprinkles, sweet chips, or your favourite ice cream sauce.

If you’re bringing spices or snacks with you, keep them in recycled containers like glass jars or mint dispensers. Don’t forget aluminum metal skewers to cook meat, vegetables, and marshmallows with. For wooden skewers, soak for half an hour before use to prevent burning. It’s also a good idea to bring along some aluminum wire with you in case you need to tie, fix, or adjust anything in an emergency situation.

With these fun and simple cooking ideas, you’ll look forward to each fireside meal on your next camping trip!


Nail your Backyard Cookout with these Barbecue Tips

Summer is the time of the year when ice cream, shorts, and beach days become the norm. But passionate cooks are undoubtedly most excited to start barbecuing again. If you’re planning a yard party this summer, reduce your stress levels and make your party the best it can be with our cookout tips.

To get your barbecue going, ignite the coals in a discarded egg carton and watch it heat up with ease. Ensure you have enough propane to keep your barbecue up and running for the duration of the party; dousing your tank in hot water and feeling for cold spots, which indicate propane, is a good strategy. A warm tank is an empty tank.

Here’s one of our favourite tips featuring aluminum. Bring out your kitchen’s aluminum foil and crumple the foil up into a ball to scrape down your grill, leaving it clean and clear in no time. If you’re looking to cook more aromatic foods, consider putting whole dried herbs on top of the flames for flavour-infused smoke. For seafood, cut citrus fruits into thin slices and cook the fish on top.

A cookout wouldn’t be complete without hamburgers and hot dogs. Spiral cutting wieners will help them cook more evenly, while making a depression in the center of hamburger patties will allow them to stay the same size and shape as they cook. Before cooking any type of meat, with the exception of fish, let it sit out for twenty minutes or so to allow it to stay juicy.

Grilling veggies is simple with wooden or aluminum metal skewers. Coat them in your choice of seasoning and watch them char beautifully on the grill. Set out a kiddie pool for any accompanying foods you have, like salads, pastas, or fruits, and fill it with ice to keep everything cold.

Muffin holders are great for holding condiments. Put sauces and toppings inside them with spoons for quick distribution and cleanup. If you have chips, fold down the top of the bag so they can be accessed more easily. Both of these tips will save room on the table, too.

When your guests are finished eating, direct them to your labeled garbage and recycling bins so everything goes in the right place. Set out a labeled dirty dishes bin if you used kitchen plates and cutlery. Tidying up becomes a lot less tiring when you plan ahead. Leftover food can always be easily stored in aluminum foil or in an aluminum sheet pan.

Backyard cookouts shouldn’t be a stressful experience – they should be all around enjoyable. By using these tips, everyone will enjoy the food and have fun. Not to mention, you’ll spend way less time cleaning up after your guests leave. Now you’ve got yet another reason to party!


Battery Upgrades Made Possible By Aluminum

Stanford University in the US and the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan have come together and created a long-lasting, fast-charging battery from aluminum.

These aluminum ion batteries, first seen at this year’s All Energy event in Glasgow, could take the place of lead-acid batteries by 2018, containing all of the same functions with lower costs and more accessible material.

What really sets the new battery design apart from its predecessors is its ability to undergo thousands of charging periods without its efficiency being noticeably affected, as well as its impressive heat resistance in even the most extreme situations. To achieve these feats, the battery is made with a combination of refined aluminum, aluminum salt electrolyte gel, and full-coverage graphite. Its composition and features make it very versatile.

Currently, the well-crafted aluminum battery has an energy capability of 40kWh/kg, which is expected to double as Stanford University and the Industrial Technology Research Institute make improvements. These batteries can already be used in many small commercial items, but advancements will increase its popularity for bigger tasks.

With its extended lifespan, decreased production price, short charging time and more, this aluminum battery could be a great option for the future. Advancements can only make it a more attractive contender.


Rusal will Reboot Aluminum Program after First-Quarter Gains


Rusal, the Russian aluminum company, plans to continue building its newest Siberian plant after generating a significant amount of revenue upon the introduction of better aluminum prices.

The company has consistently made $434 million in profit this year, nearly three times as much as it did in 2016, reinforcing its status as second-biggest aluminum production enterprise in the world. The improvement is mainly due to more sales and raised prices of the versatile metal. Its supply may struggle to appease demand in the next quarter, however.

Riding on its success, Rusal declared it would restart operations at its smelting plant in Taishet, which the board of directors has agreed to finance. Rusal has received a total of $38.5 million from them, a modest but sufficient amount for the job.

The company sees this as a great triumph, as the Taishet smelter construction began ten years ago but couldn’t be finished due to lack of funds and aluminum price reduction.

With Rusal’s two smelters in Siberia, En+, the Russian energy giant, expects Rusal to grow its production capacity one million tonnes more by 2022. En+’s profits before taxes and interest in 2016 was $2.3 billion, of which $1.5 billion Rusal contributed to. En+’s alternate companies contributed to the remaining $822 million.

Rusal experienced a more than 5% increase in demand annually, hiking it up to fifteen tonnes in the first quarter of 2017. Worldwide aluminum supply increased by almost 8% to just short of fifteen tonnes, indicating the aluminum market is where it should be.

Taking into account price raises and demand increases, the aluminum industry will likely experience continued success in the years to come.


The US Encourages Europe and Britain to Criticize China’s Aluminum Imports


The United States’ aluminum market heads are asking those of the European Union and Britain to help stop China’s problematic taxes in the industry, which have begun to affect jobs in North America.

China is suspected of breaking the World Trade Organization’s rules by illegally financing prominent market sectors, particularly the aluminum market. Despite the country’s claim that it respects the policies of the World Trade Organization, the US has begun to investigate whether its imported products are negatively affecting its safety.

Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, has received a letter from the aluminum industry encouraging her to take action, insisting that the country’s future will be more secure if it does its part to reinforce the World Trade Organization. Office representatives have not yet responded.

Industry leaders in Belgium and Russia are also participating in the discussion, realizing the urgency of the issue as China produces more aluminum than any other country worldwide, contributing to half of the globe’s total production. It contributed to a mere tenth of the world’s aluminum manufacturing in 2001. Meanwhile, the number of European aluminum plants has decreased by more than one-third from 2002 to 2015, and a Kentucky plant suffered financial losses in the first quarter of 2016.

China has begun to incur bigger charges for energy usage than Europe and the US, while Europe seeks to continue its smelting for the purpose of providing jobs to factory workers and maintaining high market value. The former simply isn’t beneficial for international business.

An upcoming meeting in Brussels among EU trade leaders will decide how the World Trade Organization will handle China’s aluminum debacle and could put new policies into place.


Black Aluminum Wheels a Possibility for Alcoa

Image: Today’s Trucking

Alcoa will soon be introducing black aluminum wheels to the vehicle industry, a Dura-Bright model designed for trucks. If it piques the interest of enough consumers, it’ll be here to stay.

Older generations tend to lean towards the typical silver metals like chrome and steel for their car wheels, but this generation’s young adults are open to new things. Looking to the latter fact, Alcoa has developed their popular Dura-Bright Evo wheel in a sleek black tone. When the sample wheels were displayed at a truck show, many people saw them and grew curious.

This new wheel is created by treating the aluminum with absorptive black material that blends with the first couple layers of the metal. Cutting the wheel open would reveal a tiny layer of the black substance encircling regular silver aluminum. It functions the same way the standard Dura-Bright wheel that came before it does, meaning the only difference between the two is the resulting visual effect.

One benefit aluminum offers that steel doesn’t is its ability to maintain shape and quality. Steel often needs maintenance to prevent scratches and molecular decay. Alcoa’s online questionnaire leaves out steel and only the two versions of its Dura-Bright wheels. Results vary depending on age group, as expected.

Alcoa’s plan may not work out, but it’s too early to tell. The company could have a great deal of luck if the younger generation takes an interest in stylizing their cars.


Aluminum, Wood, or Vinyl? Choosing the Right Siding for your Home


For a long time, aluminum siding was thought to be of lower quality than others, particularly wood siding. The truth is, every siding material has its pros and cons, and it’s important for every homeowner to choose the material that works best in their situation.

North Americans, for example, experience many drastic changes in temperature and precipitation, with both hot, humid summers and frigid, snowy winters. This wide range often calls for wood siding, which is both aesthetically pleasing and durable, assuming it’s taken care of.

Unfortunately, maintaining wood siding can be a nuisance, as it takes years of treatment to protect it against insects, mould, and natural decay. If you choose wood trim for your home, be prepared to reseal and repaint it every few years.

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of caring for wood siding, consider using aluminum instead. This tough metal only needs to be repainted every fifteen years to maintain its sleek look. Of course, aluminum is subject to scratches and indentations, which often keep homeowners from selecting it for their homes. In the light of this discovery, more options have become available.

Vinyl siding is stronger and longer-lasting than aluminum, and for these reasons, it can be a great choice for many homeowners. It requires frequent cleaning because it attracts dirt, but all it takes to look like new again is a garden hose and a bit of patience. Vinyl can also be installed in several different colours and keep any cracks securely closed.

Clearly, vinyl wins the siding battle, right? Well, not quite. Aluminum is preferable for homes situated in very cold climates, because unlike vinyl, it won’t crack and let in moisture when it experiences drastic temperature changes. Aluminum is also a widely-used metal that can easily be recycled.

Developers create new vinyl and aluminum siding each year, so you’ll never run out of options. Take the time to learn about which products are available to you, and make sure to choose something that looks good, keeps your home insulated, and withstands the test of time.


Aluminum Experts create Metallic Art by Hand

Image: Cycle World

In 2014, a Californian engineer named Robert Steffano envisioned making a motorcycle without a shell, tastefully exposing all the elements required to run a high-quality two-wheeled vehicle. This Ducati would be called the 969 Cafe Roadster, paying homage to the racer bikes used in the fifties and sixties.

Although Steffano had all the parts he needed, he lacked the skills required to complete specialized details on the bike’s frame. Fortunately, he teamed up with Evan Wilcox, an experienced jeweler who knew the ins and outs of working with aluminum, the primary metal used in making vehicles.

Wilcox had previously attended the LA Art Center College of Design for photography, but he soon found he preferred more physical creative tasks. He turned away from photography and used his newfound knowledge of shapes and shadows to shape aluminum, a flexible metal that works with rather than against the artist.

Because aluminum cannot be easily made geometric, fighting being molded into corners and straight edges, the results are mainly curved and cohesive. This sort of structure can be seen in older Ferraris and certain motorcycle gas tanks.

With a bit of convincing, Wilcox agreed to work with Steffano on the Ducati. The model needed aluminum styling, as any other metal would have been too difficult and wouldn’t have produced the desired outcome. The gentle twists and turns of aluminum would perfectly showcase the bike’s build. While the two communicated during their collaboration, they knew when to step back and let their partner do what he was good at.

In the end, Wilcox made nine parts, including the fuel tank, pipes, engine, and chassis required to power the bike. Both he and Steffano were able to effectively apply their skills to meet the bike’s needs. They even made sure all motorcycle road rules were followed so the 969 Cafe Roadster could be ridden without risk of legal repercussions.

The two craftsmen are considering future projects similar to this one, but nothing is certain. They’ll continue to use their hands and minds to build, disregarding digital design. It’s evident that their creations come from the heart.