If you’re into cooking, you probably used aluminum foil once or twice to make cooking easier and faster. Once used, you can discard the foil and replace it with another roll if you need more. But did you know that Aluminum used to be one of the most expensive metals in the world? What are the properties that make it important, and why is it used to be more expensive than gold and diamond? Read on to find more about Aluminum.
What is Aluminum, and why is it important?
Aluminum is one of the known elements that can be found on Earth. It has the symbol of “Al” and is placed in the 13th spot of the periodic table of elements. The metal is usually found in the Earth’s crust, where it is the third most abundant element. However, pure Aluminum was once hard to extract to its industrial form, making it very expensive. The oldest record of Aluminum usage is by Herodotus, in which it was then called as an alum and is used for dyeing mordant.
Back when it was not produced as easily, Aluminum was considered a symbol of wealth. Napoleon III even used aluminum plates for food servings on his state, while rank and file guests used gold or silver plates.
Common Usages of Aluminum
You can see Aluminum being used in common household items like kitchen utensils, soda cans, aluminum foils, and even wiring for electrical devices. The use of Aluminum in food packaging is widely known because of its non-toxic properties. Machinery equipment such as pipes, tools, and replacement parts are often made with Aluminum because of its strength and durability. It can also be mixed with other compounds to form more powerful ones.
Aluminum’s major uses are related to transportation. From a very simple bicycle model to the everyday automobiles and aircraft, you can find at least one aluminum part. Spacecrafts are also made with this metal because it is lightweight yet durable.
Characteristics of Aluminum
1. Color and density
Aluminum, in its solid form, is often a silvery-white and soft metal. In fact, if you compare it with stainless steel and even Silver, the difference is hard to spot for inexperienced eyes. Its density is at 2.7 g/mL, which makes it sink in the water, but it is also light enough compared to other metals.
Fresh films of Aluminum can reflect up to 98% of visible light. It is one of the most reflective metals, along with Silver. In fact, because of its 98% reflectability, a beam of light is reflected with almost lossless quality. Aluminum sheets are used for protection and decoration for a lot of building structures.
3. Ductility and magnetism
Aluminum can be processed into thin sheets because of its ductility. In fact, aluminum foil is rolled down until the thickness is equal to or less than 0.2 mm. It is currently one of the most malleable metals. Unlike other metals out there, Aluminum is non-magnetic.
Aluminum is usually used in industrial applications because of its two defining physical characteristics: durable yet lightweight. It is lighter than steel, with only 2.7 g/cm3 specific weight. This property is the reason why vehicles use Aluminum, as it reduces overall weight while increasing the load capacity.
5. Reaction to temperature change
The more you expose Aluminum in low temperatures, the stronger it can become. It is usually used in colder climates as an alternative to steel, which becomes brittle when subjected to low temperatures. However, as a trade-off, its low melting point makes it unfavorable for high-temp applications.
6. Corrosion immunity
Because of a phenomenon called “passivation,” Aluminum is not affected by corrosion and rusting as much as other metals. The corrosion immunity happens because the aluminum surface naturally produces a layer of oxide that prevents corrosion. Aluminum does not react to air because of this protective oxide layer surrounding it.
One of the major reasons why Aluminum is a major industry is its recyclability. Even if the Aluminum to be recycled is old, it will be nearly identical to the Aluminum freshly processed from the Earth’s crust. Companies are not required to process new Aluminum because recycling is more viable than processing raw materials. Besides, the recycling process only uses 5% of the energy required to make a new batch.
8. Reactive with water
When water touches Aluminum, it causes the metal to react and make hydrogen gas. This reaction is usually observed in aluminum conductor strands. Although the reaction occurs, it is not the main problem when this phenomenon happens. Instead, the buildup of hydrogen gas in a container will cause high pressures and can damage the container itself (whether its wires or cables).
9. Reactive with hot acid
Additionally, Aluminum will react to several acid solutions at varying speeds and temperatures. Examples of these acids are sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid. When it comes to hydrochloric acid, you only need room temperature to get some reaction. Aluminum alloys can react differently, depending on the alloy included.
10. Electric and heat conductivity
Although Aluminum has a low melting point (only 660 °C, compared to gold with 1,064 °C), it is still a good heat and electricity conductor. Aluminum wires are almost twice as good as copper and are used for power lines, as long as you’re not exposing it to more than 660 °C
What are the useful properties of aluminum?
What are the properties of Aluminium metal?
- Thermal and electrical conductivity. Aluminium conducts heat and electricity excellently.
- Nontoxic features.
- High strength-to-weight ratio.
- Ease of fabrication.
What are two characteristics of aluminum?
- Easily machined and cast.
- Lightweight yet durable.
- Non-magnetic and non-sparking.
- Good heat and electrical conductor.
What are the mechanical properties of aluminum?
- tensile strength.
- yield strength in tension.
- Tensile elongation.
- fatigue strength.
- elastic modulus.
What are 3 physical properties of aluminum?
Aluminum is silvery-white in color. It melts at 1220.576 Fahrenheit and boils at 4472.33. Aluminum has an atomic weight of 26.98154, and an atomic radius of 143.1 pm. It is one of the most ductile and malleable metals.
What are the disadvantages of aluminum?
How do you classify aluminum?
What type of material is Aluminium?
What is the most common aluminum alloy?
What is pure aluminum?
What is the most pure aluminum?
What is the purest form of Aluminium?
What is the example of aluminum?
For example, the common aluminum foils and beverage cans are alloys of 92% to 99% aluminum. Some of the many uses for aluminum metal are in: Transportation as sheet, tube, castings, etc. Packaging (cans, foil, etc. )
What are 5 uses of Aluminium?
- #5 – Precision Tubing in motor vehicles, refrigerators, air conditioning, solar panels etc.
- #4 – Power Lines.
- #3 – Rolled Aluminium products.
- #2 – Heat sinks for cooling CPU’s and graphics processors.
- #1 – Construction.
What’s another name for aluminum?
Which is correct aluminum or Aluminium?
What is the mean of aluminum?
What is the antonym for aluminum?
What is the opposite word of all?
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What is another word for metal?