Aluminum

2.70
26.982
[Ne] 3s23p1
27Al
13
3
p
13
2, 8, 3
577.539
Al
2.70
660.323°C, 1220.581°F, 933.473 K
2519°C, 4566°F, 2792 K
Hans Oersted
1825
7429-90-5
4514248
More Information
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Aluminum foil is commonly used to wrap and bake a wide range of foods, from vegetables and potatoes to fish and meats. The foil helps retain moisture, cook food evenly, and prevent it from sticking to the baking dish.

Appearance

Aluminium is a silvery-white, lightweight metal. It is soft and malleable.

Uses

The Versatile Metal That Shapes Our World


 

Aluminium, the third most abundant element on Earth's crust, is a versatile metal with an extensive range of applications that have significantly shaped modern life. Known for its lightness, strength, and resistance to corrosion, aluminium is employed in diverse industries and everyday products. In this article, we will explore the myriad uses of aluminium and its profound impact on various aspects of our lives.

 

1. Transportation: Taking Flight with Aluminium


Aluminium's remarkable combination of strength and low density makes it an ideal material for the aerospace industry. Aircraft, from commercial airliners to military jets, rely on aluminium alloys for their lightweight yet durable components. These alloys enhance fuel efficiency and overall performance while ensuring passenger safety. Aluminium's role in the aviation industry has revolutionized global travel and connectivity.

 

2. Construction: Building for the Future


In the construction industry, aluminium is widely used for its resistance to corrosion and longevity. It is a key material in building structures, windows, doors, and roofing systems. Aluminium's light weight simplifies construction, reduces transportation costs, and allows for more efficient installations. It also lends a modern aesthetic to architectural designs.

 

3. Packaging: Protecting and Preserving


Aluminium's malleability and resistance to corrosion make it an excellent choice for packaging. It is used to create a wide range of packaging materials, including beverage cans, food containers, and foil. Aluminium's impermeability to oxygen, moisture, and light helps preserve the freshness and quality of packaged goods. It is also recyclable, promoting sustainability in the packaging industry.

 

4. Transportation: Moving on Wheels


In the automotive industry, aluminium is a valuable material for manufacturing lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles. It is used to produce engine parts, body panels, and structural components. The reduced weight of aluminium components contributes to better fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles also benefit from aluminium's lightweight properties.

 

5. Electrical Conductors: Powering Our World


Aluminium's high electrical conductivity makes it a preferred material for electrical transmission lines and power cables. It efficiently transmits electricity over long distances with minimal loss. It is also used in electrical wiring and components. Aluminium's role in electrical infrastructure underpins the functioning of modern society.

 

6. Recycling: A Sustainable Cycle


Aluminium is one of the most recycled materials in the world. Recycling aluminium saves energy and reduces the environmental impact of primary aluminium production. The recycling process requires significantly less energy compared to extracting aluminium from bauxite ore. As a result, recycling contributes to sustainability and reduces waste.

 

7. Consumer Electronics: Enhancing Connectivity


Aluminium is a common material in consumer electronics, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. It provides a sleek and durable exterior while ensuring the internal components remain cool. Aluminium's heat-conductive properties help dissipate heat generated during device operation, preventing overheating.

 

8. Aerospace: Space Exploration


In addition to commercial and military aviation, aluminium plays a crucial role in space exploration. It is used in the construction of spacecraft, satellites, and launch vehicles. Its lightweight nature is advantageous for achieving escape velocity, and its resistance to extreme temperatures and radiation in space makes it an indispensable material for space missions.

 

9. Consumer Goods: Everyday Essentials


Aluminium is present in various consumer goods, from kitchen utensils to home appliances. Pots and pans made from aluminium are popular for their even heat distribution. Aluminium's strength and resistance to rust make it a reliable choice for items like bicycle frames, camping gear, and outdoor furniture.

 

10. Medical Applications: Health and Well-Being


Aluminium finds applications in the medical industry for its sterilizability and biocompatibility. It is used in the manufacturing of surgical instruments, medical imaging equipment, and prosthetic devices. Its light weight and corrosion resistance are advantageous in medical environments.

 

Conclusion: Aluminium's Endless Possibilities


Aluminium, with its remarkable properties and versatility, has left an indelible mark on numerous industries and aspects of our daily lives. From propelling us through the skies to powering our electronic devices, it is a metal that embodies innovation, sustainability, and progress. As technology and engineering continue to advance, we can anticipate even more innovative applications for aluminium, solidifying its status as a foundational material that shapes our modern world. Aluminium's possibilities are as limitless as our collective imagination, making it a truly transformative metal.

History

Aluminium, symbolized as Al on the periodic table, is a remarkable metal with a storied history that has greatly influenced human civilization. Its name, "aluminium," is derived from the Latin "alumen," which means "bitter salt." This name reflects its early association with alum, a compound of aluminium used in dyeing and medicine. In this article, we will embark on a historical journey to discover the evolution of aluminium, from its discovery as a precious metal to its widespread use in various industries.

 

Ancient Alum: A Precious Commodity


The history of aluminium can be traced back to ancient times when its compounds were used in a variety of applications. Alum, a class of chemical compounds containing aluminium, was highly valued for its astringent properties. It was used in dyeing textiles, tanning leather, and as a mordant in the art of fixing pigments to fabrics. The knowledge of alum's existence dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

 

The Quest for Pure Aluminium


For centuries, alum was considered a precious and rare substance, leading to numerous efforts to extract pure aluminium from it. However, these early attempts were unsuccessful, and aluminium remained a mystery. It was not until the early 19th century that the quest for pure aluminium gained momentum.

 

Sir Humphry Davy's Vision


The first significant step toward the isolation of aluminium came in the early 1800s. British chemist Sir Humphry Davy proposed the existence of a metal in alum and coined the term "alumium." Although Davy was unable to isolate the metal himself, his ideas laid the foundation for future discoveries.

 

The Discovery of Pure Aluminium: Friedrich Wöhler


The isolation of pure aluminium finally became a reality in 1827 when German chemist Friedrich Wöhler successfully produced small quantities of the metal. Wöhler used a chemical process involving potassium and aluminium chloride to obtain pure aluminium. This groundbreaking achievement marked the birth of the aluminium industry.

 

Early Uses: A Precious Metal


During its early years, aluminium was considered a precious metal and was, in fact, more valuable than gold. It was used primarily for decorative purposes, such as jewelry and ornamental pieces. The difficulty of obtaining pure aluminium contributed to its high cost and limited use.

 

Charles Martin Hall's Electrifying Breakthrough


In 1886, American chemist Charles Martin Hall made a groundbreaking discovery that revolutionized the aluminium industry. Hall developed an electrochemical process, known as the Hall-Héroult process, to extract aluminium from bauxite ore. This method was both cost-effective and energy-efficient, making aluminium more accessible and affordable. Hall's achievement is considered one of the most significant breakthroughs in metallurgy and industry.

 

The Aluminium Revolution: Industrial Applications


With the advent of the Hall-Héroult process, the aluminium industry experienced rapid growth. The newfound affordability of aluminium led to its use in various industries. It became a crucial material for the construction of structures and transportation, including the Eiffel Tower in 1889, which showcased aluminium's potential in modern architecture.

 

Aluminium in World War II


During World War II, aluminium played a critical role in military aviation. Its lightweight yet strong properties made it an ideal material for aircraft construction. The legendary B-17 Flying Fortress and other warplanes were predominantly made of aluminium. This contribution helped secure victory in the war and further cemented aluminium's importance.

 

Post-War Boom: The Rise of Consumer Goods


After World War II, aluminium experienced a surge in popularity in consumer goods. It was used in the manufacturing of household products, from cookware and utensils to foils and packaging. Aluminium's resistance to corrosion and lightweight nature made it an attractive choice for everyday items.

 

The Space Age: Aluminium in Space Exploration


Aluminium's attributes, such as its resistance to extreme temperatures and lightweight properties, made it a vital material for space exploration. It was used in the construction of spacecraft, satellites, and launch vehicles. Aluminium played an indispensable role in propelling humanity into space and enabling lunar exploration.

 

Modern Era: A Metal of Versatility


Today, aluminium is a ubiquitous material with a diverse range of applications. It is employed in transportation, construction, packaging, consumer electronics, and countless other industries. Aluminium's recyclability and sustainability have made it an environmentally responsible choice for various products.

 

Conclusion: A Metal of Innovation


The history of aluminium is a testament to human ingenuity and innovation. From its early associations with alum to its discovery as a precious metal and its subsequent transformation into an everyday material, aluminium's journey reflects humanity's ability to unlock the potential of the world around us. As it continues to shape our modern world, aluminium stands as a symbol of progress, versatility, and the enduring spirit of exploration and innovation.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 1.84
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 41.762
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.24
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.61
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
577.539 1816.679 2744.781 11577.469 14841.857 18379.49 23326.3 27465.52

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
27Al 26.982 100 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 4.8
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 84149
Recycle Rate (%): >30
Production Conc.(%) : 31
Top 3 Producers:
1) Australia
2) Brazil
3) China
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) Guinea
2) Austrailia
3) Brazil
Substitutability: Medium
Political Stability of Top Producer: 74.5
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 4.7

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 897
Shear Modulus: 26.1
Young Modulus: 70.3
Bulk Modulus: 75.5
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - 3.06 x 10-10 5.08 x 10-6 0.00256 0.218 6.1 81.4 - - 75.5

Podcast

Transcript :



Aluminum atom is composed of 13 protons, 14 neutrons, and 13 electrons. This element is relatively inexpensive. One study estimates that it takes only 5% of the energy to produce a primary metal to recycle it. That's better for the environment.

Aluminum is a substance that may be divided into two subgroups: heat susceptible and non-heat responsive. This element is known for its little impact on the natural world. The latter is the most popular category. In this category, the alloys are thermally exposed at a constant linear heating rate. The heat affected zone is called HAZ. There are two basic types of Aluminum alloys. These are wrought and cast aluminum. Wrought Aluminum is manufactured by melting Aluminum ingots with a specific alloying element. The molten Aluminum can then flexibly take the shape of mold cavities.

Attempts to physically derive Aluminum started in the 1760s. The first successful attempt came in 1825. It was achieved by German chemist Friedrich Wohler. He discovered that potassium and anhydrous Aluminum chloride react to form a new metal.

The method that Wohler used was improved by Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville in 1854. This allowed for the commercial production of Aluminum. The process was patented in 1885.

However, the actual production of Aluminum was a slow process. It brought a long time to perfect a method for producing Aluminum in large quantities. The cost of producing an ounce of Aluminum was equal to the wages of a construction worker.

The discovery of Aluminum bound the efforts of a number of individuals. Sir Humphry Davy, a British chemist, first theorized the method of producing Aluminum in the early 1800s. He also developed the concept of electrolytic reduction. This procedure helped to separate Aluminum from its ores and oxides.

In France, Paul Heroult was working on the same problem. He found a simpler and more cost-effective process for commercially producing Aluminum. He also found that Aluminum was highly resistant to corrosion.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Charles Martin Hall was a college student. He was interested in the problem of producing Aluminum and began to experiment. His research eventually changed the way Aluminum was viewed as a semi-precious metal.

Approximately eight percent of Earth's core is made up of this metal, putting it among the least common. Bauxite is a rich source of Aluminum. It contains about 60% Aluminum hydroxide. It is a mixture of boehmite and gibbsite. The bauxite is processed through an electrolytic process to extract Aluminum.

Another source of Aluminum is Aluminosilicates, such as mica and clay. These are plentiful in nature. The first commercial exploitation of Aluminum took place in the late nineteenth century. It was produced by Charles Martin Hall, who worked in a woodshed with his sister. He applied a high voltage to separate the Aluminum from the oxygen.

Some of the most common alloys of Aluminum include copper, magnesium, and silicon. The tensile strength, workability and machinability of these alloys are of important considerations.

Aluminum has an oxide coating that prevents it from rusting in the air and corroding in water.

Aluminum is one of the lightest engineering metals. Its density is 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter, about one-third of steel.

It has a good conductivity to weight ratio. This element is also extremely durable it has good corrosion resistance and low melting point. Moreover, their machinability can be improved by careful control of alloy composition and the different kind of parameters. Such substances are lightweight, yet they also transfer electricity and heat well. It has superior mechanical qualities and can be welded without much difficulty.

The compressive tenacity and flexibility of Aluminum are among its most notable characteristics. In addition, it conducts heat well. Finer grains produce superior toughness and higher strength. However, other strengthening mechanisms can reduce ductility.

Another important property of Aluminum is its ability to be recycled. It is one of the easiest structural materials to recycle.

Among the most popular metals, Aluminum has a broad variety of commercial uses. It is an excellent candidate for electrical and thermal applications. Aluminum is used in power transmission lines and automobiles, making its parts lighter and more fuel-efficient.

Aluminum is used for a wide variety of purposes in the transportation, aerospace, and maritime sector. These include lightweight hulls, superstructures, and suspensions. They also offer significant weight savings, improved fuel efficiency, and enhanced safety. These alloys are considered to be very competitive with steel.

Brake parts, gearbox shelter, and handlebars are just some of the many automotive uses for these Aluminum alloys. They can also be used to replace polymer-based composites.

In addition to its numerous industrial applications, Aluminum has many uses in the consumer durables industry. Particularly, Aluminum finds use in climate-control and food-storage devices.

Aluminum is a popular non-ferrous metal because of its versatility.

In particular, Aluminum Magnesium Silicon alloys are very popular in automotive applications. Aligning aluminum's characteristics with those of other metals is a common practice. Its unique combination of mechanical, thermal, and electrochemical properties

It can also be used to absorb crash forces, making it an excellent safety feature. In addition, it is used to clad windows and doors in buildings, as well as provide foil insulation.

References


  • W. M. Haynes, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press/Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 95th Edition, Internet Version 2015, accessed December 2014.

  • Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants, Kaye & Laby Online, 16th edition, 1995. Version 1.0 (2005), accessed December 2014.

  • J. S. Coursey, D. J. Schwab, J. J. Tsai, and R. A. Dragoset, Atomic Weights and Isotopic Compositions (version 4.1), 2015, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, accessed November 2016.

  • T. L. Cottrell, The Strengths of Chemical Bonds, Butterworth, London, 1954.

  • John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.

  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Office of Science Education, It’s Elemental - The Periodic Table of Elements, accessed December 2014.