Aluminum chemicals

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  • Aluminium or aluminum (American English) is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances.
  • Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface.
  • Aluminium metal is too reactive chemically to occur natively. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite.
  • Today, aluminum and aluminum alloys are used in a wide variety of products: cans, foils and kitchen utensils, as well as parts of airplanes, rockets and other items that require a strong, light material. Aluminum oxide is also used to make synthetic rubies and sapphires for lasers.
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans used alum as an astringent, for medicinal purposes, and as a mordant in dyeing. Although it doesn't conduct electricity as well as copper, it is used in electrical transmission lines because of its light weight. It can be deposited on the surface of glass to make mirrors, where a thin layer of aluminum oxide quickly forms that acts as a protective coating.
  • Aluminum also can be produced from clay, although this is not the most economically feasible method at present. In addition to cryolite and bauxite, aluminum is found in feldspars, granite, and many other common minerals. The oxide, alumina, occurs naturally as ruby, sapphire, emery, and corundum.
  • At first, scientists believed that aluminum was extremely rare and difficult to extract, and the metal was at one point highly prized. Several sculptures from the 1800s illustrate this commonly held belief. In 1886, however, an American student named C.M. Hall and a Frenchman named Paul Herout developed a process for smelting ores to extract their valuable aluminum.
  • Super purity aluminum (from 99.980 to 99.999% pure aluminum) is used in electronic equipment and CDís. Many car, airplane, truck, train, boat and bicycle parts are made from Al. Some countries have coins that are made from aluminum or a combination (alloy) of copper and aluminum.
  • Aluminum is great at absorbing heat energy. Therefore, it is used in electronics (eg. computers) and transistors as a heat sink to prevent overheating. Believe it or not, street lights and sailing ship masts are both made from aluminum.

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