Over the last decade, cast aluminium outdoor furniture has grown to become the go-to material of choice in the UK. For those of us who like to spend as much time in our gardens as the weather will allow, investing in cast aluminium garden furniture is a wise choice. Not only does it look good, but it is also the perfect material for our climate.
It is lightweight, so easy to pick up and move around the patio or into the shed during the winter. However, it is still sturdy enough to give it that quality feel and it won’t blow over like plastic when the wind picks up. It will not rust like other metals, and unlike say iron or timber, it is pretty much maintenance free. What’s not to love about cast aluminium?
What is cast aluminium outdoor furniture?
Good question… Cast aluminum is a specific type of metal that has gone through a process known as casting. Basically, cast aluminum is created using various processes such as die casting, mould casting, or sand casting. In other words, heating it to its liquid form and pouring it into a mould to temper the aluminium for use in creating components for many different types of products.
Today, cast aluminum is used for a number of items around the home, as well as machinery and other products that are necessary in the manufacturing of a wide range of goods and services. One of the more common applications of cast aluminum (apart from outdoor furniture) is in the creation of cookware such as pans.
Generally, cookware is created using the die cast method, and this ensures that the cookware can withstand the high temperatures required for cooking and remain useful for a number of years with minimal cleaning and care.
Cast aluminum garden furniture, such as the collection we sell here at Lazy Susan, might not currently have the history and heritage of traditional cast iron garden furniture, but it has significant over other materials.
Where did cast aluminium come from?
Aluminium was first discovered in 1807 by Englishman, Sir Humphry Davy. He discovered this new metal after pouring acid onto clay, which he called alumina. However, it was still bonded with oxygen and he couldn’t separate the two.
About 70 years later, two men in different parts of the world discovered how to get pure aluminium from bauxite. They were Paul Héroult of France and Charles Martin Hall in the USA. They used other substances to dissolve alumina. In 1821, the Frenchman Berthier came across bauxite ore in the village of Les Bauxs, France, and this is what is now used as the raw material in industrial aluminium production.
It truly is a remarkable material, not only is it incredibly strong, but it is extremely lightweight and very resistent to corrosion. Available as tubular aluminium or cast aluminium, it is a totally modern material. And although it was discovered in France as far back as 1821, cast aluminium was not widely available in industrial quantities until electricity became widely available.
However, since then, us manufacturers have been quick to use aluminium to construct garden furniture. Aluminium`s attractiveness is reflected by its increasing global demand. Consumption has more than doubled since 1970. Furthermore, the price of aluminium, which was initially more expensive than both gold and platinum, dropped by 90% during the 1980’s, due to the introduction of sodium into the manufacturing process.
Plants using this process would later be built in Great Britain, and this newer, more commercially viable process would take over and dominate the entire industry. With the primary advantage being that is was now more cost efficient in comparison to other cast metals. And along with this lower cost, cast aluminium also retains a high degree of durability.
While it is not necessarily true that cast aluminum will last as long as cast iron (if maintained/protected from the elements), in many applications, aluminum products will hold up well for a number of years. The combination of lower cost and reliable durability makes cast aluminum an excellent choice for a number of metal components and products in both domestic and commercial applications.
And for these reasons it is the perfect material for the production of garden furniture.
Widespread industrial use of cast aluminium
Since aluminium is extraordinarily strong, it is fundamental to both the automobile and the air travel industries. In fact, without it, there would not be any commercial air travel at all. The Wright brothers first airplane was only was able to get off the ground because they modified its engine with aluminum in order to reduce weight.
Without the ability of the strong aluminium alloys to withstand the huge pressures and stresses involved, high altitude flying would simply not be possible. In fact, aluminium makes up around 80% of an aeroplanes weight. Even more amazing, the space shuttles created by NASA are constructed from around 90% aluminium.
Many of the attributes that make aluminum so good for the transport industry also make it the perfect metal for cast aluminium outdoor furniture. It is a well-known fact that aluminum does not rust. This is due to the fact that once exposed to outdoor air, the surface of aluminum will quickly develop a thin, microscopic layer of oxidization, which in fact protects the metal, making it completely resistant to corrosion.
Not only does this make the metal an appealing choice in any sort of outdoor decorative item, it also means that the metal will not disintegrate when exposed to the elements. Thus, the material is perfect for the manufacturing of any object that must remain outdoors for long periods of time, such as outdoor fixtures and furniture.
It will retain, for the most part, the original appearance, along with structural integrity, without too much in the way of maintenance. With all its amazing qualities, it is no wonder that in such a short period of time, aluminum as become the material of choice in today’s outdoor furniture industry!