Aluminium extrusion addressed

A team of researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and Rio Tinto Alcan have been recognised for their research into a common problem faced by the aluminium industry.

Aluminium extrusions are the final product of a process of heating aluminium alloys, pushing the aluminium through a frame or “die” and cooling the metal in its new form.

Professor Arne Dahle, from UQ’s School of Engineering, said during this process streaking occurs on the surface of the extrusion.

“While the problems of streaking are purely atheistic, if the team can identify the cause of these problems, it will increase productivity and provide Rio Tinto Alcan with a competitive edge in the aluminium production market,” Professor Dahle said.

During a three-year collaborative project, funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, the team aims to discover what causes streaks in the appearance of extruded aluminium products, such as window frames.

Researchers are currently analysing a range of extruded products and conducting extrusion trials at Rio Tinto’s Pacific Technology Centre in Thomastown Victoria.

The findings of such research are already impressing an international audience, with the research team receiving the best paper award at the 9th Aluminium Extrusion Technology Seminar and Exposition in America last month.

With building and construction proving to be one of the biggest uses for aluminium extrusions, any future advances made by such research could prove to be extremely influential in both the domestic and international aluminium markets as well as Australia’s architectural and building industries.

Professor Arne Dahle

University of Queensland

School of Engineering

07 3365 4350

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