The different types of metal shapes

In the construction industry there are many different materials used for structural reasons as well as reinforcement and support. Depending on where and how they are used, these materials can either be decorative or functional. Different materials are used to make a number of common shapes, one of which is an aluminum U channel. An aluminum U channel is an extrusion that consists of three elements, two of which are at right angles to the other. It may be easier to visualize the shape if one was to think of two pieces of angle iron or extruded aluminum angles set toe to toe.

The most common shapes that metal takes is angled, U channel, round, square and rectangular tubing as well as bars, both round and square. These shapes are common and they apply to many materials but the most common are steel and aluminum. The shape and the material are the common variables but these shapes can also have different factory finishes and coatings as well as cut outs which reduce the weight but have minimal impact on the load carrying capacity when installed correctly.

Although in the construction field steel shapes are the most common, aluminum U channel is also very popular. Aluminum is used as it is very light compared to steel, have great strength to weight ratios and are resistant to corrosion. When used in construction, aluminum extruded shapes are often anodized and used in areas where they are visible to people as the coating is decorative and pleasing as well as resistant to wear so it makes excellent hand rails, window frames, door frames, etc.

The variations in the actual shape of an aluminum U channel are almost limitless. Although the standard product has square corners, there are some custom aluminum extruders that can make the U channel to meet the needs of the customer. The edges can be beveled, the legs can be unequal in height, the corners can be radiuses, etc. Although the U channel shape is still the primary shape, holes and perforations can be stamped or punched out which allows the channel to be fastened with screws or bolts or be trimmed to accommodate abutting pieces.

The aluminum U channel can be buffed and polished, powder coated, anodized or vinyl coated for decorative purposes as well as additional wear resistance.

Eagle Mouldings have aluminum U channel in a wide variety of sizes and in wall thicknesses from 1/16th to ¼ inch. Contact Eagle Mouldings for full detail on extruded aluminum shapes from stock.