Metallic paint also called polychromatic or "metal flake" paint, is the preferred finish for many everyday items, from cars to tennis racquets, trainers, fabric, cosmetics, and mobile phones. Most metallic paints and polymers use Aluminium platelets to reflect light and enhance the surface shine. The metallic finish can be achieved through spray and powder coating processes, providing a striking impression that catches the eye. The same effect is created by Aluminium flakes in metallic printing inks.
The world is a brighter place thanks to Aluminium.
LIGHTWEIGHT RIGIDITY MOBILITY
The earliest record of wheelchairs dates back to the 6th century, as an inscription found on a stone slate in China.
Harry Jennings and his friend Herbert Everest, both mechanical engineers, invented the first lightweight, collapsible wheelchair in 1933. Mr Everest had broken his back in a mining accident. Their "x-brace" design is still in common use, albeit with updated materials and other improvements.
Many rigid models are now made with aluminium. Light weight manual wheelchairs can attract high prices. The high end of the market contains ultra-light aluminium models, extensive seating options and accessories, and all-terrain features.
ALUMINIUM CRUISING TO A WORLD SPEED RECORD
The legendary ocean liner S.S. United States took to the water 4th July 1952, smashing the transatlantic speed record, previously held for 14 years by Queen Mary. It then broke the westbound crossing record on her return trip back to America. Although the speed of this ship was widely attributed to its four massive steam turbine engines, it used more aluminium than any other structure on earth or sea at that time.
The SS United States used 2,200 tonnes of Aluminium in its superstructure, furniture, lifeboats, and handrails. This weight saving significantly reduced the ships displacement. It also improved the ships stability by reducing the top-heaviness, making it safer and more comfortable for passengers in rough waters.
PROTECTION FROM THE HEAT
Being highly reflective and lightweight, Aluminium is used extensively for personal heat protection clothing. Working around fire and other heat sources is uncomfortable and hazardous. The intricate design of body suits allows workers and fire fighters to operate in temperatures of 700°C to 900°C.
The lightweight suits using aluminium as the outer skin weighs only 25kg. Many suits used by fire crews have an outer layer of aluminized fabric, achieving a 90% heat reflection. From a simple oven glove to life-saving fire suits, Aluminium takes care of us.
The idea for using aluminium resulted from a fire in a luggage and leather goods factory in Cologne in the 1930s, which destroyed almost everything except a few aluminium plates. This led to the production of the first aluminium suitcase for foreign travel, in 1937.
Since then the cases have been remodelled into stylish personal cases and ultra-robust boxes for touring rock bands and electricians. With the holiday season fast approaching you can expect to see the stylish people travelling light with their aluminium luggage.