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Corrugated Aluminium Sheet: A neat adaptation of a brilliant idea

Most of us will be familiar with the 19th century architect and engineer Issambard Kingdom Brunel and at least some of his awe inspiring designs for bridges, railways, tunnels and ships. However, there is another less well known, but no less accomplished engineer and architect from the same period and his name is Henry Robinson Palmer. Apart from founding the Institute of Civil Engineers, Henry Palmer also patented the first Monorail design in 1821 and is credited with inventing corrugated iron and the galvanising process.

Corrugated Aluminium
Gatecrasher Nightclub - Corrugated Aluminium

The principle advantage of corrugating materials is that although it doesn’t make them any stronger as such, it does increase their rigidity by virtue of spreading any applied load along the length of the corrugations.

Combining Henry Palmer’s brilliant corrugating idea and applying this to a modern day corrosion resistant and lightweight material such as aluminium sheet produces an outstanding multi functional product.

As with all claims for improved product performance, some clear cut evidence is required to demonstrate just how much of a difference the corrugating process makes to the rigidity of an aluminium sheet.

Ceram Research therefore recently carried out deflection testing on our range of wavy Anolight aluminium sheets and compared the results with a control sample of flat aluminium sheet. The test results exceeded my expectations and will be shortly uploaded onto our website. In the meantime here are the essentials.

Anolight Cladding Panels
Gatecrasher Nightclub

A synopsis of the test conditions reads as follows. Load was applied by means of dead weights placed centrally on the aluminium sheets. Deflections were measured at each load increment until either the sample collapsed or the maximum load was achieved.

Corrugated Aluminium Sheet
Dorman Museum, Middlesborough

The test results showed that, compared with the control sample of flat aluminium sheet, the wavy Anolight material had an impressively increased resistance to deflection of between 8 & 15 times (depending on the sheet patterns tested).

Corrugating sheet material is a great example of innovation. Sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best. We have a lot to thank Henry Robinson Palmer for!

Gooding Aluminium are a national and international supplier of a wide range of high quality aluminium sheets, aluminium profiles and ‘made to order’ aluminium products with ‘invisible’ fixing solutions. For more information about bespoke or ready made aluminium products, subscribe to our blog or visit our main site at

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Aluminium Houses & Charles M. Goodman

For those in the know, great; but for those that don’t, the question surely arises – What is the connection between Charles Goodman and Aluminium Houses?

Aluminium Houses
Alcoa House - Aluminium Houses

Charles Goodman was a Washington DC based architect who specialised in designing homes in the modernist style. Inspired by, amongest others, the Bauhaus work of Mies van de Rohe, Goodman was appointed in 1957 by Alcoa (The Aluminum Company of America) to design the ‘Care Free House’. This collaboration was set up to demonstrate aluminiums‘ suitability and versatility as both a decorative and structural material within residential environments. It was also intended to display how successfully aluminium integrates with traditional materials such as brick, glass, stone and wood.

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Aluminium Production: 1950’s Retro Style

There have been many technological advances in the mining and production of aluminium over the past 50 years. Significantly reduced power input, lowering of PFC emissions, increased re-cycling, and the development of new industry specific aluminium alloys to name a few.

The basics of making aluminium however remain the same. Bauxite, the main ore of aluminium, is open cast mined, converted into aluminium oxide (alumina) and passes through an electrolytic reduction process that converts into metallic form.

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Sustainable Aluminium: A Natural Investment in the Future

However ‘green fingered’ or not, most of us would probably acknowledge a basic understanding of the way living plants progress through a life cycle, changing their forms as part of the process. Remarkably, for an inanimate material, aluminium also has the sustainable and environmentally friendly capability of changes in form, passing through potentially numerous life cycles by being recycled from one product into another. No wonder aluminium is called the greenest of metals!

For another ‘natural’ analogy you can also consider comparing aluminium with secondary clay. Both materials, originating from the earth’s crust, are in abundant supply; both are solids and yet lend themselves to changes in form through cold working and/or various forms of heat treatment. Interestingly there are clay building products that can be recycled by composting, while aluminium is recycled through re-melting and manufacturing into new shapes and products.

The worldwide annual recycling of aluminium is very much expanding with a three fold increase from 5 million tonnes in the early 1980’s to something in the region of 15 million or more tonnes in the mid naughties. It is currently estimated the construction industry is recovering over 90% of the aluminium used in redundant buildings (96% of the aluminium from the old Wembley Stadium was recycled).

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