How we use aluminium

Aluminium's flexibility, strength and light weight are some of the qualities that make it attractive in so many different applications.


Tailor-made products for different needs

An aluminium alloy is a mixture of aluminium metal and other types of metal. Aluminium alloys are usually made to enhance material properties.

The properties of aluminium change when other metals are added. These other metals can give aluminium greater:

  • Strength
  • Brilliance
  • Ductility
  • Formability

Strength, Brilliance, Ductility and Easier to form into other products

Aluminium is light, strong, and resistant to corrosion and cracking. But for aluminum to be a strong construction material, it needs to be mixed with small amounts of other metals. When mixed in appropriate portions, aluminium’s strength can equal that of steel, yet its weight is still only one-third of the weight of steel.

Aluminium alloys are often used in engineering structures and components where light weight or corrosion resistance is required.

The most common elements used in aluminium alloys are magnesium, silicon, manganese, zinc and copper.

Alloy development is the basis for further metal processing, giving the metal the specifications required by the market. Alloys are critical to meet the specific needs of our customers, and Hydro is a leading supplier of downstream aluminium products to building, packaging, transportation and lithographic markets.

The alloys can be tailor-made to suit each customer’s needs, and are often developed in close cooperation with our customers. Our expertise in metals enables us to help our customers improve their product range. This way, our casthouse products really add value.

Extruded products

Extrusion means heating an ingot of aluminium and pressing it under high pressure through a die shaped like the finished extrusion. Like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.

Pure aluminium is only used in a limited way commercially. The majority of extrusions are made from aluminium alloyed with other metals.

Aluminium pressed through an extrusion die 

Aluminium is heated to to 500 degrees C and pressed through a shaped tool called a die.

The speed through the shaping tool depends on what metals the alloy is made of, and how complicated the pattern of the tool is.

The extrusions are then drawn out onto a receiving table, stacked and allowed to cool. They are then tempered and cut to a specified length. Some extrusions receive a surface finish.

Extruded aluminium profiles

The extrusion technique has almost unlimited possibilities for design. That, and the fact that we can build in features that save both work and money, makes aluminium extrusions the ideal construction material.

Buildingfacade with window frames in aluminium

With the right alloy and proper thermal treatment, extrusions offer countless application opportunities. This is also an exciting basis for product improvement.

Precision tubing

Precision tubing is an innovative source of aluminium solutions for a wide range of applications. Precision tubing is often used for heat transfer applications, in other words to move heat from one location to another. These applications are used in motor vehicles, refrigerators and air conditioning, ventilation, solar power and heating systems.

Solar panels

Rolled products

Hydro is a large producer of rolled aluminium products. We supply nearly all applications in aluminium, from solid containers to ultra-thin aluminium foil.

We supply around one million metric tons of rolled products annually. Our flat-rolled aluminium products are high in strength and low in weight, and offer enormous "lightweighting" potential.

Rolling of aluminium foil

Aluminium foil can be produced as thin as 6.0 µm (micrometer). This aluminium foil is used for food packaging, pharmaceuticals and technical applications. The foil can be lacquered, laminated and coated using various techniques.

Our foil, strip, sheet and plate are used in the automotive, transport, building and shipbuilding industry as well as the engineering, electrical, domestic, printing and packaging industries.

Food packaging in aluminium

As a supplier to producers of beverage cans, we manufacture body, end and tab-stock.

Casthouse products

Hydro also supplies extrusion ingot, sheet ingot, foundry alloys and high-purity aluminium. Every year we supply the market with over three million metric tons of casthouse products.

Around the world, we are working on innovative solutions to achieve improvement on every level to expand the use of aluminium even more.

Our casthouse products are used in automotive, transport, buildings, heat transfer, electronic and aviation.

High-speed train in aluminium

Hydro's remelt network optimizes customer scrap flows by making top-quality aluminium products from aluminium scrap. We are also stepping up our recycling of post-consumed and contaminated scrap.

Aluminium scrap

Updated: October 3, 2016