Does aluminum get hot in the sun? Everyone knows that metal becomes very hot in summer, and it also becomes very cold in winter.
And it makes it unsuitable for many outdoor projects.
This is when people look for other alternatives, such as aluminum. But again, it is common to ask, “does cast aluminum get hot in the sun?”
Yes, aluminum can get very hot in the sun, but it is also quite thin and a good thermal conductor, so it radiates heat and cools off quite quickly as well.
Aluminum and Other Metals Becoming Hot in the Sun
Melting points and thermal conductivities vary across metals.
Standard household metals can get very hot if left in the sun for too long.
This is true for metals such as:
- Stainless steel
They may get extremely hot when exposed to a temperature around 60F for long enough.
That is why it makes sense to insulate metal pipes if they are exposed to temperatures higher than 140F.
Here, you have to pay attention to the thermal conductivity of aluminum and other metals before choosing for your application.
How they react to temperature varies greatly based on the metal in question.
- Aluminum: 237F
- Iron: 80F
- Lead: 35.3F
- Copper: 401F
The range depends on many factors as well. For instance, among all metals, the thermal conductivity of pure aluminum (1000-series alloys) is the best.
But the heat conductivity of high-strength alloy materials decreases as their strength increases, indicating a trade-off between the two properties.
Fact: Aluminum is popular for many reasons, including that it weighs about one-third less than steel.
Does Aluminum Get Hot in the Sun?
Yes, it does, but how hot it can get varies based on the aluminum grades.
It is possible for it to get very hot, but it would never melt. To understand this, you can consider the example of aluminum foil.
It is impossible for the sun’s rays to melt aluminum foil, which can withstand temperatures in an oven several hundred degrees hotter than outside.
In addition, the sun and heat will not cause any dangerous pollutants to be released within the home.
That said, it is also a fact that aluminum gets hot quickly mainly because it is so thin. It definitely makes it a good thermal conductor, implying that it will cool off just as quickly.
Fact: An unalloyed aluminum melts at around 1215F, and it boils at around 4400F, but these alloys have a melting temperature that varies from alloy to alloy.
Learning about Different Types of Aluminum
A good thing about choosing aluminum over many other metals is that it is available in different types and grades.
Therefore, you can pick a grade based on how you want to utilize it.
Getting Familiar with Aluminum Grades
You should begin your exploration of aluminum by learning about the various grades it comes in.
There are three primary varieties of aluminum, designated as:
Also called “The Workhorse Aluminum”, this grade is quite commonly used because it resists corrosion far better than 300 series alloys.
It also has great heat welding properties and is stronger than 250 alloys of the same thickness.
This alloy is suitable for use in guttering and other high-wear applications, such as the exposed corners of tables and chairs.
Because of its superior corrosion resistance, it’s much more durable, which makes it the best choice to employ in settings with high amounts of humidity.
Aluminum 3003 is essentially pure aluminum with a small amount of manganese added to boost its strength.
The nominal percentages of Cu, Mn, and Al in this aluminum alloy are 0.12%, 1.2%, and 98.6%, respectively. It can be welded easily, costs less per unit weight, and has versatile uses.
Although it lacks the corrosion resistance of grade 6061 or 1100, it is a cheaper option for some projects.
Aluminum alloy 3003 is a versatile alloy and can be used for things like pot lids.
But, keep in mind that it won’t be able to withstand the high temperatures generated by an oven.
Fact: Unlike 6061, the use of 1100 in high-temperature applications like cooking utensils or pot lids would result in a significant increase in cost.
With 99% purity, this aluminum allow is extremely flexible. For anything that needs complex shaping procedures, nothing works better than the 1100 alloy.
It is true that it would not harden as efficiently as other metals, but it still brings with it many interesting benefits owing to its weldability and high corrosion resistance.
Because of its characteristics, it can be used to shape different products, including:
- Railroad tank cars
- Chemical equipment
- Fin stock
- Cooking utensils
- Sheet metal
Besides these, the lighting and plumbing industries also benefit a lot from aluminum 1100 grade.
Factors Affecting Thermal Conductivity of Aluminum
It is true that aluminum, like any other material, will heat up when exposed to sunshine.
However, due to its superior heat dissipation properties, aluminum outperforms many other typical railing materials.
Thermal Conductivity of Aluminum Compared to Other Metals
Aluminum is superior to steel and wood in terms of heat conduction and dissipation speed.
After the sun goes down, the temperature of your aluminum railing will rapidly return to room temperature.
It is crucial because people tend to be concerned about touching hot objects during the day but relax their standards as the sun goes down.
Aluminum’s high heat conductivity makes this an unnecessary concern.
Aluminum Color Variations and Thermal Conductivity
When you talk about how hot aluminum can become in the sun, you will also have to talk about the effects of its colors.
Aluminum in darker colors is likely to get hot a lot quicker.
The reason is that all the different wavelengths of light are absorbed by dark colors. The stored energy is released in the form of heat.
On the other hand, the sun is reflected by lighter colors, so they do not absorb as much sunlight, and as a result, they do not heat up.
What it implies is that going with lighter colors, regardless of the fence material, can help reduce the effects of heat.
What Types of Aluminum Can Get Hotter Quickly?
Out in the sun for an extended period of time, black rocks, cement, and even sand can reach dangerously high temperatures.
The water heats up, too, but it needs more time in the sun to reach the same temperature as soil or cement.
Also, it takes longer for these materials to return to room temperature. But, things are slightly different for aluminum.
Aluminum gets hot but also returns to the normal temperature rather quickly, especially compared to other materials and aluminum types.
Anodized aluminum is treated to create a highly corrosion-resistant coating.
During the electrochemical process, the metal is immersed in multiple tanks, one of which is used to build the anodic layer directly on the metal.
Many people are under the impression that anodized aluminum gets very hot in summer.
It may be true to some extent, but it is still much better than other materials, including oiled timber.
Oiled hardwood is a great option for coastal locations, but anodized aluminum stays 10C cooler than hardwood.
You need to remember that raw aluminum is likely to get much hotter than anodized aluminum.
If you are more concerned about how hot a material becomes in the sun, you will be much better off sticking to the wood.
As compared to wood, aluminum always feels hotter, which is obviously due to its better conductivity to skin.
Does powder-coated aluminum get hot in the sun? In comparison to anodized aluminum, powder-coated aluminum usually gets hotter in the same amount of time.
Anodized aluminum comes with an additional layer, which improves insulation. But, you can go with a thicker powder coating to make it comparable to timber.
Fact: It is estimated that aluminum makes up 8.2% of the Earth's crust, making it the most prevalent metal on Earth.
Does aluminum get hot in the sun? Quite like other metals, aluminum can get very hot when exposed to heat for a long time.
It means it will definitely get hot in the sun, but the upside is that it also cools down quickly.
But, its thermal conductivity often depends on the grade you use as well as the color or additional coating you choose.