March 2, 2016
Aluminum impacts our lives in more ways than we realize. Of course, there are the obvious ones that we use and interact with in our daily lives; the soda can you drink from is made of aluminum, we use aluminum foil as a cooking aid, the keyboard I’m typing this blog post with is made mostly of aluminum, however, aluminum is impacting our lives in ways we don’t see or sometimes even realize, and as we slowly march into the future, it will have an even bigger impact than it does now.
Aluminum already has a large part to play in this industry through the manufacturing of phones. The smartphone in your pocket and the mobile devices you use at home are made up primarily of aluminum or aluminum alloys. From the shell to the internal workings, a good portion of your phone runs because of aluminum. However, within the next ten years, even the phone’s battery will be made of aluminum.
The battery hasn’t grown scientifically in over two decades, but scientists at Stanford University have developed an aluminum graphite battery that can charge in a minute flat. They’re flexible, long lasting, and charge ridiculously fast. Currently, they’re working on the charge capacity, as they only hold about half the power of the lithium-ion batteries currently on the market, but with being able to charge to full in under a minute, I don’t see that being a huge problem.
This one comes straight out of one of the oldest sci-fi series in modern history. This invention was first heard about from Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. The vision of the future that Star Trek painted for us is getting closer and closer every day. One of those inventions is transparent aluminum. Currently, its being used for industrial, military, and scientific applications such as body armor, and bulletproof barriers that can even deflect a .50 caliber bullet.
Also, the University of Tokyo released a paper last year about a transparent aluminum material that could potentially be used for commercial electronic displays, such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
This one is a little bit closer to our current times. Automakers have been increasing their use of aluminum in their vehicles consistently over the last 5 years. Mainly done with luxury vehicles and mid-market sedans, auto companies are now starting to use aluminum in their commercial end of vehicles as well. For example, this past September, Ford released plans to make their F-150’s with aluminum. While the F-150’s body already uses aluminum, Ford plans on using aluminum for some other components that were previously steel. If used, this will make the vehicle 700 pounds lighter and increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency by up to 29 percent.
As you can see, aluminum affects our lives in very intricate ways, and is on the path to have a larger and larger impact in our lives. It’s exciting to see what the future holds for us.