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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Aluminium is a silvery white and ductile member of the boron group of chemical elements.

  • Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust, and the third most abundant element therein, after oxygen and silicon.

  • Aluminium is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as the free metal. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief source of aluminium is bauxite ore.

Properties

  • Aluminium is a soft, durable, lightweight, malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness.

  • Aluminium is nontoxic, nonmagnetic, and nonsparking. It is also insoluble in alcohol, though it can be soluble in water in certain forms.

  • Aluminium has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is ductile, and easily machined, cast, and extruded.

  • The strongest aluminium alloys are less corrosion resistant due to galvanic reactions with alloyed copper.

  • Aluminium is a good thermal and electrical conductor, by weight better than copper.

  • Aluminium is capable of being a superconductor, with a superconducting critical temperature of 1.2 kelvins and a critical magnetic field of about 100 gauss.

  • Aluminum owes its excellent corrosion resistance and its usage as one of the primary metals of commerce to the barrier oxide film that is bonded strongly to its surface and, that if damaged, re-forms immediately in most environments.

Process

  • The production of aluminum begins with the mining and beneficiation of bauxite.

  • Primary aluminum is produced by the electrolytic reduction of the alumina. Raw materials for secondary aluminum production are scrap, chips, and dross.

  • Aluminium production is a continuous process which extracts pure aluminium metal from alumina, the powdery white oxide of aluminium.

  • Aluminium is delivered to the manufacturing industry in three main categories of shapes: Flat rolled products, i.e. sheet and foil; Long products: extrusions, bars, rods and wires; Castings.

  • The electrical energy consumption per ton of aluminum produced has decreased from 42,000 kwh to an average value of 16,500 kwh today. The state-of-the-art plants consume 13,000 kwh per ton of aluminum smelted.

  • Aluminum obtained from the electrolysis cell is named as "primary aluminum".

Market

  • The surge in aluminium futures came after reports that China's top 20 aluminium producers have decided to cut production by 5-10% from July 2008 to push up aluminium prices and reduce power consumption.

  • Aluminium production is expected to grow at about 8 per cent annually and domestic companies are in the process of expanding their capacities to cater to the increased demand; annual demand growth is expected to be around 6-7 per cent analysts said.

  • Indian consumption of aluminium in the electrical and electronics sector is presently 32 per cent as against the world average of 9 per cent.

  • Aluminium production is highly power intensive and the 1,250 mw power station is expected to cater to the needs of the smelter plants.

  • The process of producing aluminium is electrolytic one and involves power consumption of around 13,000 to 15,000 kilowatt per tonne of aluminium produced.

  • World aluminium growth rate seems to touch 4.9%. India has huge reserves of bauxite spread across Orissa, MP, Jharkhand &other states.

  • Large reserves of good quality alumina and proximity to Asian markets have attracted global aluminium producers in the world towards India.

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