Previously we have discussed some of the more practical (if not prosaic) uses of aluminum in our everyday lives, from car manufacturing to building construction to solar panels, and even in robotics. One delightful area we have not touched on yet is the use of aluminum for purely aesthetic purposes: in the making of art.
It’s hard to imagine an elemental metal more suited than aluminum for creating beautiful objects. For one thing, there’s plenty of it: aluminum is the third most abundant element on Earth and the most abundant metal, making up some 8% of the planet’s crust. This durable metal is strong yet light, has a pleasing silvery-white appearance, can be polished to a highly reflective sheen, and is resistant to oxidation and corrosion. Though sometimes a “finicky” metal to work with (due to its relatively low melting point and high heat-conductiveness), it is also a versatile one: it is both ductile and malleable and can easily be molded, extruded, bent, stamped, cut, riveted, and welded. It can even be successfully painted and glued, since finishes and adhesives retain 100% of their strength when bonded to aluminum, thanks to its unique chemical properties.
Given all this, the world should be fairly bursting with astonishing artworks made from aluminum. And yet such treasures are few and far between compared to artworks made with other materials. Continue reading “Everyday Aluminum: Art”