Aluminum News – Usage is up, transparent Aluminum, competitions

Aluminum is in the news today. Usage is up, they can make it transparent now, aluminum can competitions

Bloomberg News

Demand for aluminum, used to make car components and beverage cans, rose in North America and Canada by 9.6 percent in August, The Aluminum Association said.

[don’t you just love that bit, by the way? North America and Canada? Where else would Canada be located? And this, mind you, was in the Canadian edition of Bloomberg, not some far away edition)

Air Force testing new transparent armor

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) — Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor — stronger and lighter than traditional materials — that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride — ALONtm — as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.

The test are being done in conjunction with the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio.

ALONtm is a ceramic compound with a high compressive strength and durability. When polished, it is the premier transparent armor for use in armored vehicles, said. 1st Lt. Joseph La Monica, transparent armor sub-direction lead

“The substance itself is light years ahead of glass,” he said, adding that it offers “higher performance and lighter weight.”

Traditional transparent armor is thick layers of bonded glass. The new armor combines the transparent ALONtm piece as a strike plate, a middle section of glass and a polymer backing. Each layer is visibly thinner than the traditional layers.

Did you know they have aluminum can competitions (from Red Nova)?

Two winners were announced in the European Association of Aluminum Aerosol Container Manufacturers’ (AEROBAL) “Aluminum Aerosol Can of the Year 2005” competition. Boxal-part of the American Exal Group-won in the “Cans Already Launched on the Market” category for its mp3 container based on the company’s GRIP concept- a technology that allows container embossing processes to highlight decorative elements.

Aluminum makers seem to be making a profit despite hard times

Red Nova

Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc. on Monday said third-quarter profit edged up 2 percent as lower aluminum prices and higher energy costs cut into profitability.

And Red Nova is also reporting an interesting idea by the state of Maryland. Energy is a huge input cost for Aluminum smelting. Anywhere there’s an aluminum smelter, there are always big arguments over the cost of electricity.

Md. To Alcoa: Buy a Power Plant and We’Ll Help You Save Your Frederick Operation

State economic officials said they can’t help Alcoa Inc. save a Frederick aluminum plant threatened by surging energy costs unless the global aluminum maker helps itself by buying a regional power plant.

The fact is, we need to know if Eastalco is even serious about the long-term commitment of the plant, said Chris Foster, deputy secretary of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development. With energy prices going up over the last three years, certainly it’s a legitimate question.

Last week the Pittsburgh company sent layoff notices to its approximately 600 employees as it faces a Dec. 31 deadline to find a new power supplier. Next year, its current fixed energy contract with Allegheny Energy Inc. expires. Its power bill is expected to grow to three times the average global price for energy.

Driven by high operating costs, Alcoa has been building plants in other countries where the price of power can be much cheaper. Energy makes up about one-quarter of the cost to produce aluminum.

Other countries can offer less expensive power partly due to hydropower plants. Brazil, for example, has a hydro facility that requires no fuel cost yet produces the same amount of power as 20 nuclear facilities. China is building an even larger hydro plant.

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