Aluminium encyclopaedia


In the aluminium industry, the term "strip" is used to describe aluminium webs between 0.2 and six millimetres thick. One speaks of "foil" when the thickness is below 0.2 millimetres. Panels or flat products with thicknesses between 0.20 and 50 millimetres on the other hand are called "sheet". Sheet with a thickness of over six millimetres is referred to as "plate" in some countries.

Aluminium strip is a semi-finished product that is produced in large quantities from unalloyed aluminium and aluminium alloys by rolling. Several rolling steps ("passes") are usually necessary. Due to the resultant deformation, hardening of the material occurs - the strip becomes hard and brittle. Annealing, a form of heat treatment, makes the material soft and flexible again, the amount depending on how much further processing is required. The finished strip is rolled into coils, which are up to three metres wide, the complete production length (which can be several thousand metres) long and weigh up to 20 tonnes, and then shipped.

More than ten per cent of the strip produced worldwide is made using a continuous process (continuous casting) as cast strip - up to 30 millimetres thick and up to two metres wide. One can section the cast strip into plate or roll it to the finished product.

During metal processing, the strip is lacquered or anodised (with a protective, adhesive or coloured lacquers), laminated (with plastic) or embossed (using embossing rolls). Bare or treated strip finds use in many products such as packaging (for example beverage or food cans and foil dishes), printing plates, bright-finish alloys, sheeting (trapezoidal or corrugated) for building construction or heat exchangers.

Strip, sheet and plate are covered by the EN 485 standard.