Aluminum is a silvery-white, lustrous metal that is only about one-third as heavy as iron. It can be drawn out into wires that are finer than the finest hairs and hammered into sheets as thin as a sheet of newspaper. It may surprise you to learn that it is the most abundant of all the metals in the world. Nearly 8 percent of the earth’s crust is aluminum.
But aluminum is never found free in nature. It is combined with various substances to form parts of many rocks and soils. Did you know that sapphires, rubies, garnets, and other beautiful gems are compounds of aluminum?
The problem was how to separate cheaply aluminium from the other substances. On February 23rd, 1886, a twenty-two-year-old chemist named Charles Martin Hall found a way to make this metal cheaply and in large quantities. In melted cryolite, which is a compound of aluminum and sodium with fluorine, he dissolved a small amount of aluminum oxide. Then he placed the mixture in a carbon vessel and passed a direct electric current through it. After about two hours, little “buttons” of metallic aluminum were found in the bottom of the vessel. This same general method is still used for the production of the world’s entire supply of aluminum metal.
Cryolite is found only in Greenland, but can be manufactured if the mineral form is not available. Bauxite, an impure aluminium oxide, is found in many countries, but must be purified before it can be used to produce metal.
Aluminum is an almost perfect material for cooking utensils because it is a good conductor of heat and is easily kept clean and bright. It is also in engines, airplanes, and train engines.
What Type Of Metal Is Aluminium?
Aluminum (Al), also spelled aluminium, chemical element, a lightweight silvery white metal of main Group 13 (IIIa, or boron group) of the periodic table. Aluminum is the most abundant metallic element in Earth’s crust and the most widely used nonferrous metal.