Have you ever struggled with a heavy timber ladder? If so, then you know that deploying a large one, such as a two or three section extension model can be very difficult for one person to handle. This difficulty can make even a simple DIY task hard to accomplish efficiently. So, what’s a person to do? Well, many people have discovered that switching to lightweight and durable aluminium ladders is a good solution. However, there are a few points to be aware of when considering an aluminium ladder. This post will cover the main benefits of ladders made from this versatile and strong metal.
Aluminium Ladders: Key Features
If you’re shopping for an aluminium ladder, then the best way to find one that’s well suited to your needs is to be familiar with the properties of the metal from which they’re made. Whether it’s a step ladder, an extension ladder or one of those handy multi-purpose ladders, choosing one made from aluminium is right for a number of reasons. First, make sure that the ladder you buy is resistant to rust and corrosion, like an aluminium ladder. Unfortunately, timber ladders require a certain amount of maintenance and should be stored indoors. An aluminium ladder, on the other hand, can be stored outdoors with no ill effects. This is an important feature, especially for people with limited space. A ladder made from aluminium also is very easy for a single person to handle. Here are just a few of the characteristics of aluminium that make it a highly suitable material for ladders.
Aluminium Ladders: More about This Metal’s Essential Characteristics
Aluminium is much lighter in weight than timber or glass fibre, the two other materials from which ladders are typically made. Glass fibre for example, is very dense. This density makes it quite heavy as well. Timber ladders are heavier than aluminium models and, as previously mentioned, shouldn’t be stored outdoors. Both timber and glass fibre are prone to splitting. Another positive characteristic of aluminium is that it doesn’t burn. Fire fighters often opt for aluminium ladders specifically for this reason. In addition, such ladders are highly durable. Glass fibre ladders may crack if subjected to a heavy load or substantial stress. Aluminium, although it’s a metal, will never rust. Wise tradesmen, industrial users and DIYers choose ladders made from aluminium because it’s completely maintenance free and highly affordable. In fact, an aluminium ladder usually is less expensive than either a timber or glass fibre one. The process of manufacturing one isn’t as complex as either timber or glass fibre models, so the price tends to be lower.
Aluminium Ladders: Further Highlights of the Metal from Which They’re Made
Without getting too technical, we can say that aluminium possesses a unique range of properties that make it an incredibly versatile material for construction and engineering properties. Even when alloyed with other metals, aluminium lends strength that’s comparable to structural steel. Aluminium alloys are highly durable and extremely resistant to oxidation, meaning that any reaction is completely non-toxic and non-staining. In addition, aluminium will not react with metals with which it may come in contact. So, it’s perfectly acceptable to store these ladders outdoors. Aluminium is over 50% less dense than iron and about 75% less dense than copper. Some aluminium alloys have tensile strengths as high as 30,000 psi, so there’s no concern about the ability of such materials to bear significant weights. It’s possible to double aluminium’s tensile strength by working it, such as in a cold rolling process. One shortcoming of an aluminium ladder would be that it will conduct an electric current. Therefore, for working around electrical sources, it’s better to use a timber or glass fibre ladder. Aluminium is an excellent thermal conductor as well, so a ladder made from it might feel warm or hot to the touch if exposed to direct sunlight or other heat sources.
Aluminium Ladders: More Important Properties
The process by which a ladder is manufactured generally requires different types of joining. An aluminium ladder benefits from several types of joining process, including soldering, brazing, welding and riveting. In addition, aluminium fasteners facilitate the assembly of a wide range of products. It’s also possible to use an adhesive bonding process to join aluminium to itself or to other materials. Aluminium lends itself to the extrusion process by which ladder stiles and rungs are made. Aluminium is non-toxic and for this reason is widely employed in cooking utensils and vessels. These characteristics make aluminium foil an ideal material for storing perishable food items. Aluminium will not spark when struck against itself or against other non-ferrous metals. It’s also non-magnetic, so it’s well suited for use in enclosures for magnetic equipment. When polished, aluminium will reflect about 80% of light. Aluminium is a supremely workable material. It can be extruded, cast, rolled, drawn, stamped or spun. It also lends itself well to forging and hammering and thin aluminium wire can be wound into cable. Aluminium alloys are easy to machine, which results in high-quality parts and products with an affordable price. Aluminium can also be milled, turned or bored. Other joining techniques include bolting, bonding, welding, screwing and riveting.
Aluminium Ladders: Final Thoughts
Perhaps the leading characteristic of aluminium ladders is that they have a superior strength-to-weight ratio. This makes an aluminium model easy to transport and store as well as much less expensive to produce than ladders made from other materials. Aluminium products, such as ladders, can weigh as much as 50% less. When used in place of copper in electrical wire and cable, it’s important to note that aluminium is much less dense than copper, which means it has about half the current carrying capacity. Finally, aluminium is highly recyclable, and recycling it needs just 5% of the energy needed to extract aluminium from its ore, bauxite.
Aluminium ladders are designed to exploit the many positive properties of this important metal.
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