Construction Materials

An Introduction

Modern construction techniques are almost unrecognisable from where they were only a short time ago. Traditional nature-supplied materials like brick and wood are seldom used to build with these days, and almost never for buildings of over 3 floors. The main reason for this is the cost efficiencies found in producing metal and composite goods off-site and delivering the finished product to the site only when ready for installation. This allows for far greater outsourcing capabilities and allows larger buildings to be built in smaller spaces than previously possible. 

Further to this is the fact that buildings are getting taller and home-owners are working longer hours than before. Off-site and just-in-time production methods, facilitated by metals technology, allow buildings to be built quicker than before, are stronger, safer, and also require less maintenence. The invitation of more metals into the construction industry has also widened the scope of what is possible in terms of design and architecture. The London skyline of today wouldn't have been possible if we were still relying upon brick supported structures. 

The requirements of engineering materials in architecture are expansive, to satisfy different needs. Steel is still the primary material used in creating structural framework and as reinforcement for concrete products. Many modern window frames for highrise buildings are made using aluminium extrusions and titanium has found itself useful as weatherproof cladding.

The materials and applications on this page are listed solely as a guide and do not reflect the limit of our supply, or the uses of said materials. If you have a specific application for which you need particular materials, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Aluminium

Pros

+ Lightweight, facilitating shallower foundations for taller buildings

+ Readily formed into complex shapes

+ High corrosion resistance

+ Predictable strength across a wide temperature range

+ High strength alloys allow greater spans without support, giving                 archtitects fewer structural constraints

+Second most often used metal in construction, meaning plentiful                 resources for guidance

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Cons

Aluminium in Construction

Nickel

Pros

+ A useful alloy in Stainless Steel - often used in decorative features

+ Excellent corrosion resistance

+ High strength

+ Predictable strength across a wide temperature range

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Cons

Nickel in Construction

Steel

Pros

+ A plentiful array of alloys to choose from for all different purposes in         construction: Mild Steel for rebar in concrete reinforcement, HSS for           frame work sections and HSSC for high strength applications

+ The most abundant metal in the construction industry with 50% of all         Steel produced for this purpose

+ Easily fabricated, welded and joined

+ A broad range of typically avalable shapes: Z-beams, I-beams, Lintels,       Sheet, Plate and Bar

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Cons

Steel in Construction

Titanium

Pros

+ Very high strength

+ Excellent corrosion resistance

+ Readily fabricated

+ A wide range of readily available shapes

+ Low coefficient of thermal expansion

+ Maintenence free

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Cons

Titanium in Construction

Carbon Fibre

Pros

+ Straighforward to form into complex shapes

+ Excellent corrosion resistance

+ High strength

+ Predictable strength across a wide temperature range

+ Low thermal expansion coefficient

+ Possible "smart" capabilities in the future

+ Very lightweight, allowing complex structures to be created with                 minimal impact on building's overall mass

+ Excellent off-site manufacture capabilities, whilst being cheaper to             transport

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Cons

Carbon Fibre in Construction

Aramids

Pros

+ Straightforward to form into complex shapes

+ Excellent corrosion resistance

+ High strength

+ Predictable strength across a wide temperature range

+ Very lightweight

+ Fire retardent

+ Resistance to electrical conductivity

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Cons

Aramids in Construction

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Integ Metals // Industries // Construction
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