The Progression to Aluminum Cans

Ever since the militaries have grown to encompass citizens, opposed to only using nobles and mercenaries, there has been a need to store food. The concept for stored food came around in the 18th century when the French government made an appeal to the populace for food preservation ideas. Its military was starving and it needed a way to efficiently feed the soldiers. Glass containers were first used to store food in but that later evolved into tinplate containers. However, once carbonated beverages were introduced, problems arose with the tinplate cans.

Carbonated pressure was too much for tin cans to handle. Leaks were sprouting during transit and storage. Carbonated beverages are corrosive, so it was eating away at the tin cans, destroying beverage quality. So, an alternative was sought. Aluminum cans were first introduced in 1963. The metal is a terrific alternative to traditional tin cans. It can handle higher pressure, does not rust, is lightweight and is extraordinarily strong. It also helps that aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth, making up for more than 7% of the earths crust.

Today, aluminum cans are manufactured through the process of cold forming or cold headings. To produce a can, a flat sheet of aluminum alloy is cut, and then shaped into a cup form. This form is then ironed to create the bottom of the can. The lid is produced separately from ca coil of aluminum alloy. It is attached after the body is filled with a beverage then sealed. Since Aluminum is extremely malleable, it is easy to mass produce aluminum cans. I always wondered how aluminum cans were filled yet remained sealed. I guess I never considered the lid was made separately from the body.

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