Aluminum is also known as aluminium and is comprised of bauxite as its main ore. This is the third most abundant metal on the earth’s crust and makes up to 8% of the earth’s surface. It also has zero toxicity and it can be found naturally in our food. It is a ductile metal that is silver in color, soft and non-magnetic. It is mostly mixed with other elements because it is a very highly reactive metal. It has a very high affinity to oxygen and cannot be found in its element state. However, it can be found in silicates and oxides.
Properties of aluminum
- It has a very low density and does not corrode. This makes it very useful when it comes to the transport industry as well as structural building. It is resistant to corrosion due to the thin film of aluminum oxide that is formed thus preventing oxidation from taking place. This layer is self-forming in case it depletes.
- It is non magnetic and does not ignite easily. It non-magnetic nature makes it suitable for use in x ray equipment.
- It is soft and durable and strong. Its strength increases with low temperatures and decreases with high temperatures. It is also malleable whether hot or cold. This makes it easier to bend and form any shape with it.
- It is a good thermal and electrical conductor and it is weighs half as much as copper but conduct the same amount of electricity.
- It has a relatively coefficient of linear expansion.
- It has good reflecting abilities to both radiated heat and visible light.
Uses of aluminum
- Powdered aluminum is used in paints.
- Aluminum in manufacturing packaging materials such as diamond plates ,cans, foils, etc.
- It is used in making household items such as cooking utensils and food containers.
- It is used in making electrical transmission lines, street lighting poles, sailing ship masts and heat sinks for electrical appliances.
- It is used in making construction materials such as windows, doors, building wire, etc.
Aluminum is highly recyclable and it does not lose any of its original qualities. Although recycled aluminum is referred to as secondary aluminum, it has no difference in properties with the original one. This metal has increasingly been recycled because its uses have increased over the years.
The process of recycling produces an ash-like oxide that can be useful since it can be used to extract more aluminum. It can also be used as filler in concrete and asphalt. Check out more info here.