As has been discussed previously, aluminum boasts a wide range of inherent properties (including strength, lightness, corrosion-resistance, ductility, and so on) that make it the go-to material in numerous industries. Among those properties, however, it can be argued that one in particular is single-handedly responsible for its widespread adoption—namely, its malleability. It is aluminum’s ability to be bent and shaped without compromising its durability or other properties that make it so versatile.

A prime example of this malleability can be found in a product nearly ubiquitous in American households: aluminum foil. To make this foil, aluminum is heated until it becomes molten, then stretched thin before solidifying between large, water-cooled chill rollers. The result is the thin, flexible, and almost weightless aluminum sheets that have become a familiar staple of everyday life.

Expanding on aluminum’s extraordinary malleability and strength-to-weight ratio, we delve into the world of extrusion aluminum, where these properties are leveraged even further.


Aluminum Extrusions: How They Come to Be

First, let’s understand what extrusion entails. It is a process that brilliantly harnesses the natural characteristics of aluminum (the very same ones that lent themselves so well to creating aluminum foil). Extrusion allows for the production of custom shapes and profiles, enabling a vast array of aluminum fabrications. After heating a solid aluminum billet and applying pressure, the billet is forced through a specially designed die, resulting in the desired shape and profile of the extruded aluminum product.

Play-Doh Fun Factory
(Source: Wikimedia Commons
© Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The genius of this process lies in its ability to offer precise control over the final product’s dimensions and the creation of complex and custom-designed profiles that cater to a diverse range of applications—a level of flexibility not easily achievable with other processes like welding or forging. Think of the Play-Doh Fun Factory Sets of our childhood, where soft Play-Doh is squeezed through plastic dies to create a plethora of clever shapes. Extrusion aluminum works by the same principle.

The following video clearly illustrates the process.


Alloys Are Key to Extrusion Aluminum

Despite the broad, general applicability of aluminum as a material, it’s true that not all aluminum is created equal. Another layer of versatility may need to be added to the material. Depending on the specific needs of a project, customers may select from a range of aluminum alloys, each engineered to offer particular advantages. For instance, some alloys excel in strength and durability, making them ideal for structural applications (like shelving and storage fabrications); while others prioritize corrosion-resistance, making them perfect for outdoor, marine, or laboratory projects. A previous blog article offers a more detailed overview on the types of aluminum alloys available. The ability to choose different alloys empowers customers to tailor extrusion aluminum projects to their specific requirements, guaranteeing excellent results in a variety of applications.

With the combination of an ideal aluminum alloy for the customer’s project and the boundless possibilities of the extrusion process, the realm of extrusion aluminum becomes an open canvas for creativity. The ability to craft custom profiles and shapes knows virtually no limits, and so customers can design and manufacture aluminum constructions tailored precisely to their specific needs. The flexibility and adaptability of extrusion aluminum makes it the material that gets things done, delivering practical solutions and unmatched versatility to meet the diverse demands of every project.

Extrusion Aluminum Profiles from Framing Tech