When aluminium first came onto the market in 1855 it was only used for items of jewellery because of its high price. With increasing production and falling prices, as was possible after 1886 as a result of fused-salt electrolysis, one used it mainly to produce articles that had to be strong and light, such as household equipment. Around 1900, aluminium found use in printing plates, art, building construction and steel production; following the discovery of the alloy Duralumin in 1906, aluminium was also used for aircraft construction, shipbuilding, and in rail and road vehicles. In the 1920s products for electrical engineering and packaging appeared. During the Second World War, production was mainly used for defence technology. Today, the main markets for aluminium are vehicle manufacture, building construction, mechanical engineering and packaging. In addition, aluminium is used in electronics and air conditioning and solar technologies. There is hardly a field of technology or everyday life where aluminium products are not used.
The future demand for aluminium for the applications mentioned, as well as new ones, will probably be determined by the beneficial properties and ecological considerations.
Here, recyclability plays a big role - aluminium can be recycled time and again without any loss in quality.
Aluminium and its alloys are also used in capital equipment and consumer goods because they offer possibilities for energy saving (such as lightweight packaging and lightweight construction of cars).