Aluminium is a popular choice when it comes to automated gates and there are several reasons why. In this article, we look at the strength of aluminium and the pros and cons of choosing it for your electric gate.
What is Aluminium?
Aluminium, or Al as it appears on the periodic table, is a soft, non-magnetic metal. It is well known for its low density and corrosion resistance. Aluminium is the most widespread metal on Earth, making up over eight per cent of the Earth’s core mass. Ubiquitous in the modern day, aluminium is used in everything from building and vehicles to aerospace technology.
How Strong is it?
While aluminium is almost three times lighter than iron, it is a strong material. When testing the strength of metals, four things are taken into consideration:
• Compressive strength - how well a material resists being compacted or squeezed.
• Tensile strength - how well a material resists being pulled apart.
• Yield strength- how well something resists being reshaped or bent.
• Impact strength - how well a material withstands impact without shattering.
Each material has its qualities, so it will perform differently across these tests. The material chosen will depend on what it will be used for and what qualities it needs. Aluminium is not as strong as steel, for example, but it is much lighter and more malleable, meaning a more significant quantity can be used.
The anti-corrosion properties of aluminium mean that it can stay stronger for longer, with reduced oxidation over time. It is resistant to changes in temperature and doesn’t become brittle in cold weather.
It is also worth noting that its mechanical properties will not be weakened with reuse. Therefore it can be recycled and melted down over and over again. This makes it more sustainable and cost-effective; 75% of the aluminium produced since the beginning of its industry is still in use today.
Aluminium is often mixed with other metals to make high-strength alloys, and these are used in a vast range of applications in the modern world. Some of these include:
• Packaging – most widely used in the food industry, aluminium is non-toxic and is used for drinks containers, seals and aluminium foil.
• Transport – aluminium is used in everything from bikes to spaceships! Transportation accounts for the highest amount of aluminium consumption at 27%.
• Construction – aluminium is used widely throughout modern building in frameworks and structures.
• Electrical – the efficient electroconductivity of aluminium makes it popular in cables and wires.
• Consumer goods – it is likely that the device you are reading this on contains aluminium. Household items from gadgets to furniture all include the material.
Pros of Aluminium Gates
When it comes to automated gates, the qualities listed above make the material a long-lasting and popular choice. Its malleability means it can be easily cut and formed into ornate or stylish designs.
The natural corrosion resistance of aluminium means that the gates require much less maintenance than steel or wooden gates. For example, paint on a wooden gate can tend to flake and peel, requiring repainting. For more details have a read of another of our blogs on How to Maintain an Aluminium Gate
The lightness of the material means fixtures such as hinges don’t need to support so much weight. The motors use less electricity to open and close, and the reduced motor power required also makes them safer.
You can also get high-quality surface finish on an aluminium gate. The surface finish adds a marine grade level of corrosion resistance and gives the gates their colour or wood-look finish. Standard colours and a range of wood-effect finishes are available, but special finishes including textures and special woods can also be specified. The surface finish we apply to our gates at Linkcare comes with a ten-year warranty and the structure of the gates comes with five years.
Cons of Aluminium Gates
The decisive factor of aluminium’s lighter weight can also be a con. For those who are looking to install automated gates in a commercial setting where high-security is a must, aluminium is not as strong as the steel version, in this instance, wood would also not be the ideal material. This type of security is not usually necessary for domestic use, however. There is also a slightly higher chance of damage, as aluminium is more easily bent should there be an impact with a vehicle. However, for the majority of cases, aluminium gates are a very reliable choice.
If you are a gate installer
or are looking for product details on aluminium gates, explore our website further. We have a massive range of aluminium gates with colours and styles to choose from as well as kits, motors and spare parts.