Aluminum was not discovered until 1809, but it has become one of the most indispensable metals in the modern industrial world because of its valuable properties. It does not rust and it is resistant to wear from weather and chemicals. It can also be formed into almost any shape, from the thick plates that protect armored tanks to the thin foil used to make wrappers for chewing gum. By alloying aluminum with other metals such as tin and copper, engineers can improve its properties and make it even more useful.
Aluminum cases cool down much better than those that are constructed out of other metals. This is due to the specific heat properties of the metal: It remains cooler for a longer time, and can absorb more heat from the air immediately surrounding it, before its temperature rises. The result is that the equilibrium between the case and the air inside stays lower. This is especially valuable if the things to be stored might melt or otherwise be damaged by the heat, such as CDs. Reduced temperatures also mean that things such as high-end video cards, high-RPM hard drives and microprocessors can operate more easily in an aluminum case.
Behavior under Temperature Extremes
It is not just its ability to avoid overheating, but also the way it behaves under extremes of temperature, that makes aluminum the best choice when it comes to constructing storage cases. The metal does not lose its ductility, become more brittle or fragile, or bend out of shape as long as the temperature remains between -112 and 302
Aluminum is one of the most lightweight metals in existence and this property makes cases made from the metal easy to carry around, with more of the weight being contributed by the contents of the case. This is all the more of a benefit with items that are constantly being transported.
The strength of aluminum makes it ideal for storage cases. It does not tear, crack, stress as easily as some other metals, nor is it as greatly affected by fracture propagation, mechanical breakage or impact.
Resistance to corrosion
The air around us is a constant source of corrosion. That is why metals that resist it, of which aluminum is definitely such a one, are prized so greatly among those who manufacture items of practical or esthetic value, particularly in areas that are close to the sea. (Titanium resists corrosion too, but it is more expensive to obtain.)
The electrical behavior of a substance is another important factor in determining what it can and cannot be used for. Aluminum is more electrically conductive in proportion to its weight than any other metal. Consequently, it is the best choice for diverting heat away from electrical materials during the shipping process and for controlling electrostatic discharge. It also reflects radio and radar waves, which are labeled “externally generated interference.”
Ability to withstand harsh environments
Items that must be transported through bad weather or rugged terrain need to be protected against such hazards and aluminum is again the metal of choice: It keeps water vapor from diffusing through seams and can be fitted with additional options for environmental durability.
Aluminum is one of the easiest metals to customize. No special mold is needed when welding, brazing, riveting, drilling, soldering or otherwise shaping it.
Unlike lead, mercury and some other metals, aluminum is not toxic and poses no threat to the environment. Nor does it catch on fire or have magnetic properties that could make it dangerous or at least difficult to work with.
The final characteristic that makes aluminum optimal for cases is its esthetic appeal. Not only does it not rust, as mentioned above, but it can have any type of finish, both chemical and mechanical, applied to it.
Micheal Salty is a contributor for Sierra Cases, http://www.sierracases.com/aluminum-cases/, a company dedicated to helping consumers find the best rackmount case for their traveling equipment.