Aluminium is extensively preferred in residential and commercial projects
A variety of products from wire mesh, coil curved panels and materials repurposed from demolition are showing up in the design of hotels, workstation and residencies says RK Jain, Senior Vice President- Commercials, Jindal Aluminium Limited.
What makes aluminum a reliable building material?
Modern buildings and constructions are much more than just erected buildings based on functional criteria. Aesthetics and design considerations with sustainable demand have an equally vital role to play. This is a clear indication that the usage of building materials is of chief significance. Aluminium, the building material of contemporary times has established itself as a key component in the building and construction domain during the 20th century. Today, aluminium is widely used in various building applications like external facades, walls, roofs, doors, windows, stairways and even in-home interiors. It is a preferred and trusted building material due to its intrinsic properties like lightness, durability, sustainability, low maintenance, being non-combustible and corrosion resistance. Aluminium is also used for light management. When used with glass, it aids in reducing energy consumption for lighting and heating. The metal can be anodized or powder-coated in any colour to match the overall décor of the building. Due to being sustainable in nature, the metal causes low carbon footprint and can be reused. Aluminium has been a central component of the transformational journey for the construction industry in India. Right from skyscrapers to sustainable buildings, aluminium has always been the primary choice amongst the developers, architects and builders.
What can be said about the level of corrosion resistance the material offers?
Aluminium tends to naturally generate a protective thin oxide coating that prevents the metal from further coming in contact with the environment. The metal is unaffected by corrosion in the neutral pH range due to its oxide layer. Rust does not adhere to this top layer since the light-alloy is itself guarded by this sealing layer. It is useful for applications where the metal is exposed to corroding agents like in the kitchen cabinets and in automobiles. Anodized and powder coated aluminium has even greater corrosion protection as compared to the untreated raw material due to its special surface. The metal’s anti-corrosion and being resistant to weathering properties outperform even in the industrial atmospheres which often tend to oxidize other metals. Aluminium is also corrosion-resistant to many acids.
When it comes to the selection of aluminium as a building material for different projects, what are the finer points to be noted?
Almost every aspect involved in the building construction rests on aluminium formworks. The applications like windows, doors, facades, roofing systems, domed roofs ceilings and air conditioning systems to name a few are built using aluminium structures. One of Aluminium’s chief characteristics is its exceptional strength to weight ratio. At 2.7g/cm2, Aluminium is 66 per cent agile and light in weight as compared to its counterparts. Aluminium’s greater modulus of resistance implies that weight ratios of 1:2 are easily attained. Aluminium sections are thinner and deeper than its correspondent steel sections and help to achieve the required strength and firmness. Since the metal is unaffected by moisture, aluminium windows do not warp, stick or bend. Another point to consider while choosing Aluminium as a building material for various projects is its compatibility with today’s fast-track construction and building techniques and just-in-time ordering. This is witnessed in curtain walling and cladding where the precision of factory-finished sections allows rapid erection on site.
Can you also emphasize the role of aluminium in the creation of “infinite” elements for interior design?
The metal has been making serious inroads in residential and commercial projects as a preferred interior finish. A variety of products from wire mesh, coil curved panels and materials repurposed from demolition are showing up in the design of hotels, workstation and residencies. The trend has gone a long way towards banishing the perception that the metal is not suitable for interior usage. Aluminium has over the years evolved as the most preferred metal of choice for modern high-tech interiors due to being smoother and less bulky as compared to other metals. It is used in the fabrication of chairs, tables, decorative wall panels, lamps, heaters and in air conditioning units; aluminium furniture pieces have become a classic feature in interior design. One of the exclusive characteristics of Aluminium is its role in creating “infinite” interior elements. Designers prefer to use the metal as it lends them a lot of freedom to choose the shape for their creativity; it is easy-to-process, it is recyclable and is visually satisfying. The metals lightweight and practicality makes it a market leader when it comes to outdoor furniture pieces like garden swings, foldable chairs and stools, tables, compact shelves and mobile folding chairs in street cafes.
How has Aluminium performed as an artist’s muse for the creation of artistic installations and sculptures?
Along with its popularity in the interior design segment, aluminium is also used in art installations and the making of sculptures. For a couple of reasons, aluminium casting and sculptures are in huge demand. Since it does not weight much, offers resistance to corrosion and is easy to mould, the metal is an exact material to work within the sculptures. Aluminium can be easily decorated to lend a cast iron or gilt bronze effect to the sculptures. It aids ease of installation particularly in case of monuments. Aluminium carving is a very skilful task as its melting point tends to be much lower than that of bronze. While carving sculptures and art installations, Aluminium should be cast in an inert environment that is in a room filled with argon, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. In present times, Aluminium is a material chiefly used by home artists, as it allows them to build light but very durable structures.