Aluminium encyclopaedia


When the first aluminium was produced after 1855, its price was higher than that of silver. It was therefore mainly used for the decorative arts, such as for medals. Later it was also used in sculptures, with the best-known example being the Eros statue erected in 1893 at Piccadilly Circus in London. Since then, aluminium has occupied a permanent place in art and architecture.

 Sculptors make use of casting, mainly as sand casting. The mould is made of sand and this results in a rough surface. The model is prepared by the artist in hard polystyrene foam and then bedded in sand; the foam is vaporised by the heat of the liquid aluminium. One can obtain smooth cast surfaces using an investment casting process with a wax model: the liquid aluminium melts the wax model and forces the wax out of the sand mould. Sculptures are made from aluminium sheet or aluminium castings, also using welding for joining parts.

Cast aluminium plates with an artistically designed pattern on their visible faces are used in interior and exterior architecture (for example as cladding panels in building construction).

Aluchroming is used in painting. One paints on anodised aluminium panels with water insoluble pastes, that are absorbed by the porous oxide layer provided these are not more than a few hours old. The oxide layer is subsequently compacted in hot water, as in anodising.