I can easily see how aluminum could be the material of choice in deck structures.
I have been using aluminum structural profiles in machine building since 1990.
They are generally light, corrosion resisitant, (if anodized properly) structurally efficient, cost effective, and they have a predictable yield strength and consistiency. They come in numerous shapes and sizes. I have a cold saw with a 20 foot long table and stock the popular sizes of structural aluminum for machine building.
You wont find any wooden, decks, flowerboxes or other structures in my back yard.
Even the patio furniture is cast aluminum
The deck boards they are making out of recycled wood and plastic look good.
This whole Erector Set discussion got me looking online. It seems that Erector Sets have gone the way of Lego, with sets that are designed to build specific toys. When I was a kid, Erector Sets, like Lego, were raw materials. The design was entirely up to the kid. I never knew quite what I was building until I ran out of parts. By the way, some of the sets cost $80 now.
Over the last few months, I've watched a metal structure -- a large multi-unit, six-story retirement home -- constructed in my neighborhood. All metal, from the girders to the shiny walls and pre-form metal stairways. I've been amazed at how much it's like an Erector Set. Huge portions come on large trucks, and 10-story cranes lift them into place. Snap, snap, and the pieces go together. Way more fun to watch than the usual frame stucco here in Albuquerque.
Reading the comments about erector sets brings to mind very happy memories of the myriad of erector set components that I had strewn around the house and the many crazy mechanical contraptions I'd develop. That was my indoctrination to Mechanical Engineering. Now, as a homeowner that has finished a modest size deck/pergola project in my yard last summer, I wish I had known about this system. I'm a big proponent of low-maintenance systems around the house. The aluminum components would have been a blessing especially at the house connection and ground level locations!
I'm with you, Doug. I never cared much for hammer-and-bruised-thumb projects much as my dad tried to drag me in. I remember pounding wooden shingles on the house all summer long when I was a teenager. I loved my Erector Set.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
With major product releases coming from big names like Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung, and big investments by companies like Facebook, 2015 could be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) finally pop. Here's take a look back at some of the technologies that got us here (for better and worse).
Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.