PROTECTING THE TITANIC (and keeping it looking good) One hundred years after the birth of the world’s most famous ship, a museum dedicated to the ship has become a major new tourist attraction for Northern Ireland. The unique architectural design was influenced by features of ice crystals, ships' hulls, and the insignia of the shipping line. The external forms and profiles of this iconic building are defined by 3,000 anodised aluminium facia panels. The specification called for a lifetime guarantee not subject to cleaning. The proximity to the sea means that the panels will be exposed to salt air and strong winds. The Aluminium panels come with a ‘Marine guarantee’, proven to stay looking great in one of the most hostile weather environments.
INVENTING THE ALLOY WHEEL In 1899 a patent was filed for one of the world’s first motorcycles. The ‘Motor Wheel’ was developed by Edwin Perks and Frank Birch, former employees of Humber bicycles. They strapped a 222cc four-stroke engine and petrol tank to a Singer bicycle. The Singer motorcycle was born. The engine powered the rear wheel, which was the world’s first cast alloy spoke wheel. The motorcycle cost £63 at the time but recently one went to auction, expected to sell for £21,000. Alloy wheels are now central to the motoring world, a major innovation from a tiny Coventry workshop.
ALUMINIUM PROTECTION IN THE NUCLEAR AGE Aluminium is a vital component in the “Dosimeter” used to detect personal radiation exposure. It is a small device worn on the body. Among the many types in use, the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dosimeter is one of the latest designs. More sensitive than other types, it uses an Aluminium oxide strip detector to record beta and gamma radiation. The analysis involves exposure of the strip to specific frequencies of laser light, which cause the Aluminium oxide to become luminescent in proportion to the amount of radiation energy deposited in it. A report of exposure results is generated based on the measured luminescence. Another advantage of the OSL Dosimeter is results can be read up to a year after exposure. OSL Dosimeters are worn on the torso or a finger.
PILL PACKAGING – SAFE & SECURE Blister packs are commonly used as unit-dose packaging for pharmaceutical tablets, capsules or lozenges. The Blister packs provide long shelf life and tamper resistance. Aluminium foil backing is referred to as “Lidding”, used in thicknesses of 7µm (0.007mm) to 30µm (0.030mm). The Aluminium Lidding has numerous properties which make it ideal for the safe, convenient and versatile packaging of many pharmaceutical products, such as tablets, powders and liquids. The unrivalled barrier properties of aluminium totally exclude the penetration of moisture, oxygen, aromas and other gases, as well as micro-organisms and light. When it comes to recycling, advanced separation techniques mean that the aluminium foil can be recovered and recycled at a fraction of the original energy cost.
PEACE, UNITY & FRIENDSHIP Once again, as in 1948, Aluminium has been chosen for the torch material of the UK Olympic Games. The 1948 torch was designed by Ralph Lavers, a fan of classical architecture. He needed to create something inexpensive but well-crafted for a torch to travel across Europe ahead of the "Austerity Games". Aluminium torches were also used for many of the Summer and Winter Olympics around the world. The 2012 torch has been designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby. The torch is 800mm high and has 8,000 perforated circles to represent each one of the inspirational runners in the relay marking the opening of the London 2012 games.
National Metalforming Centre,
47 Birmingham Road,