Parks and play areas are full of children and youths on push scooters, zooming around or performing freestyle stunts. Aluminium scooters are complex technical machines, originating from Switzerland in the 1990s. These pieces of street culture have evolved into high spec. High tech. Items of desire. Rigidity, Lightweight, and aesthetics are the key to performance and status on the park. Aluminium is the aspirational material of choice for all ‘wannabe’ tricksters.
CRAZY ARCHITECTURAL SHAPES
The amazing properties of aluminium opens up the minds of architects to new shapes and new structures. Combining functionality with beauty, wild, curving shapes are becoming increasingly part of the man-made landscape.
Newport Station in South Wales is one of the most eye-catching structures in the UK railway system thanks to an aluminium roof that wraps itself round two platforms and the connecting footbridge.
Aluminium is not just important in the roof finish but also plays a key role in the building’s structure.
SCALING THE HEIGHTS
Climbers use many different aluminium tools and pieces of equipment, exploiting the materials lightweight and high strength properties. A common item in the climbers pack is the carabiner. These “biners” (pronounced beaners) come in a variety of forms. Once made from heavy steel, almost all carabiners for recreational climbing are now made from a lightweight high strength aluminium alloy.
Aluminium is the material of choice to get to the top!
PUT ON YOUR RACING PLATES
In training, racehorses have steel shoes but on race days, when speed is of the essence, they are fitted with light weight aluminium shoes known as plates. The aluminium racing plates withstand the punishing treatment of raceday with racehorses weighing up to 1500lbs thundering around the course on a range of surfaces despite their light weight.
Light-weight shoes mean more miles per bale of hay!
A CENTURY OF PROSTHETICS TO ORTHOPAEDICS
100 years ago in 1912 an English aviator, Andre Marcel Desoutter, who had lost his leg in an aeroplane accident made the first aluminium prosthesis with the aid of his brother, Charles, an aeronautical engineer. The aluminium leg was half the weight of the prosthetic originally offered to him. They made it from one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium alloy.
Prosthesis is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘addition’. These artificial limbs were originally developed for cosmetic appearance, function, and a spiritual sense of being complete. Advances in Technology, Biomechanics, and Material Science, now offers us a wide range of aluminium orthopaedic devices to aid movement and prevent injury.