What is Aluminum? Properties and Uses

what is aluminum?

Have you ever wondered how aluminum has become such an integral part of our modern lifestyle? This lightweight metal is used in a variety of ways from automobiles to kitchen appliances, and its properties offer a unique suite of characteristics that make it an ideal choice for many industrial and commercial applications. But what exactly is aluminum? In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the origins of this versatile material, discussing how different properties can be utilized, as well as some common methods for fabrication and processing. Read on to learn more about this remarkable material!

What is Aluminum?

Aluminum is a chemical element with the symbol Al and the atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, and ductile metal in the boron group. After oxygen and silicon, aluminum is the most abundant metal and the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It accounts for 8.1% of the crust’s weight and 6.3% of its atoms.

Because aluminum is a very active metal, it is only found in a wide variety of earthy and rocky minerals such as feldspar, mica, granite, and clay. Kaolin is a fine, white aluminum-containing clay that is used in the production of porcelain.

Aluminum oxide, also known as alumina, is used as a furnace lining because it does not melt until temperatures reach 3632°F (2000°C). Corundum and emery are two harder forms of alumina that are used as abrasives.

Among the many different mineral forms in which aluminum can be found are garnet (Fe3 Al2 Si3 O12), beryl (Be3 Al2 Si6 O18), ruby, and sapphire, Al2 O3 with chromium and iron impurities. Manufactured rubies and sapphires are used in lasers.

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History of AluminIum

Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, accounting for more than 7% of its mass. It exists only in very stable compounds with other materials in nature, and its existence was not discovered until 1808. Years of research were required to separate the metal from its ore and develop a commercially viable production technique.

Sir Humphrey Davy was the first person to discover and name aluminum in 1808. P. Berthier discovered a hard, reddish, clay-like soil containing nearly 50% aluminum oxide near the village of Les Baux in southern France in 1821. It’s called bauxite, and it’s the most common source of aluminum.

Properties of Aluminum

Aluminum Physical Properties

  • Aluminum’s Physical Properties:  The addition of silicon makes the material more malleable and soft. The aluminum crystal has a face-centered cubic structure.
  • Except for magnesium, aluminum has the lowest density of any commercial metal. Aluminum is an excellent reflector of UV light when it has the proper surface type.
  • As impurity segregations form, the lattice concentrates in the less pure metal. Purity influences the majority of other physical characteristics.
  • Aluminum can also be used as a cold or hot selective wall, or as a body with the appearance of a black body. Aluminum has a slightly higher infrared reflectance than gold and silver.
  • Apart from magnesium, aluminum has the lowest density of any commercial metal.

Chemical Properties of Aluminum

  • It does not react with it because the surface of aluminum metal is covered with an oxide layer that protects the coating from air attack. When the oxide layer is destroyed, the aluminum metal is exposed and reacts with oxygen to form amphoteric oxide (Aluminium (III) Oxide), Al2O3.

4Al(s) + 3O2 (l) = 2Al2O3 (s)

  • Mineral acids react with aluminum to form solutions that contain the liquid AI (III) ion and the hydrogen gas, H2. Aluminum produces hydrogen gas when it reacts with HCl.

2Al(s) + 6HCl (aq) = 2Al3+ (aq) + 6Cl- (aq) + 3H2 (g)

  • The release of hydrogen gas is the result of this reaction (H2). Aluminum can form covalent bonds with oxygen when it combines with a heated sodium hydroxide solution to form a colorless sodium tetra hydroxo aluminate solution with the release of hydrogen gas.

2Al (s) + 2NaOH (aq) + 6H2O 2Na+ (aq) + 2[Al (OH)4] 2Na+ (aq) + 2[Al (OH)4] – + 3H2 (g)

Mechanical Properties of Aluminium

  • Aluminum has mechanical properties that allow it to withstand significant deformation without breaking. Rolling, extruding, drawing, machining, and other mechanical operations can now be used to shape aluminum. It can also be cast precisely.
  • Aluminum properties can be tailored through alloying, cold working, and heat treatment.
  • The tensile strength of pure aluminum is around 90 MPa, while some heat-treatable alloys can reach over 690 MPa.

Aluminium Uses

  • Aluminum and its alloys have a wide range of applications, including the following:
  • Because aluminum is a good conductor of electricity, it is used in electrical transmission lines.
  • Aluminum is used to make poles, tubes, pipes, plates, wires, and foils.
  • Because of its durability and lightweight, it was used to make kitchenware in factories, planes, and other vehicles.
  • It is used in both air conditioners and solar conductors.
  • It’s also widely used in bridges, ladders, wires, and doors, to name a few applications.
  • Chocolate and other items are packaged in silver foil.

Advantages of Aluminum

  • Aluminum has a specific weight of 2.7 g/cm3, which is about one-third that of steel. Aluminum manufacturing costs are reduced. Its use in automobiles reduces dead weight and energy consumption while increasing load capacity. It also reduces noise and improves comfort.
  • Aluminum naturally produces a thin oxide coating that protects the metal from further environmental interaction. Except for marine magnesium-aluminum alloys, aluminum alloys are less corrosion-resistant than pure aluminum.
  • Aluminum is a good heat and electricity conductor. As a result, aluminum has emerged as the material of choice for major power transmission lines.
  • Aluminum is ductile and has a low melting point and density. It can be treated in a variety of ways while molten.
  • Aluminum is completely recyclable and has the same properties as new aluminum. As a result, it is significantly less expensive source material for large-scale production runs.


To conclude, aluminum is a valuable material that has many uses due to its lightweight nature and strength. Its high ductility allows it to be easily machined and molded to create products ranging from furniture to parts in vehicles. With all of its incredible properties, it’s easy to understand why aluminum has become such an important and versatile element in multiple industries. Not only are manufacturers able to produce their products faster and with less cost due to the reuse of the same material, but they are also helping reduce our global footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while still meeting their customer’s needs. As consumer demands continue to evolve, aluminum will have a significant role in helping meet those needs as new technologies are developed around its versatile application.


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