What is Aluminum?

Aluminum (Al) is a type of metal, but not just any type of metal; it is the third most abundant chemical element after oxygen and silicon. Not only that, but aluminum is the most ample metal in all of Earth’s crust, making up almost 10% of its entire mass. Aluminum is everywhere– found in over 270 different types of minerals. Even some of the food we eat contains aluminum, such as: processed cheese, tea, lentils, and sponge cakes.

What does Aluminum Look Like?

Aluminum is a silvery-white color. It is a great metal because it is fairly soft but durable, lightweight, ductile, and malleable.

 

What is Aluminum Composed of?

Although aluminum is found in earth’s crust, it is never actually found free in nature. Aluminum that we know and use today is always combined with other elements to form compounds. Two of the most common compounds are alum and aluminum oxide. Both compounds can both be obtained from bauxite (a common type of ore).

Aluminum can be found in Row 2, Group 13 of the Periodic Table of Elements. It is a chemical element within the boron group.

 

What are the Benefits of Aluminum?

Because of aluminum’s extraordinarily low density, it is able to resist corrosion which makes it perfect for many types of structural buildings and components

  • Aluminum is very well tolerated by plants and animals
  • Aluminum is 100% recyclable and reusable
  • Aluminum is non-toxic
  • Aluminum is a non-magnetic metal
  • Aluminum is a non-sparking metal
  • Aluminum is fairly priced- far less expensive than copper and silver
  • Aluminum has good conductivity

What is Aluminum used for?

Aluminum is the most widely used metal in the entire world after iron. Here is just a small list of the everyday uses for aluminum:

  • Cans and many other types of packages
  • Foils
  • Kitchen utensils
  • House siding
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Window frames
  • Beer kegs
  • Cars and automobiles
  • Machinery
  • Airplane and helicopter parts
  • Power transmission lines
  • Decorative paper
  • Mirrors
  • Toys
  • Antiperspirants and deodorants

Basic Facts about Aluminum

  • Atomic Number (number of protons in the nucleus): 13
  • Atomic Symbol (on the Periodic Table of Elements): Al
  • Atomic Weight (average mass of the atom): 26.9815386
  • Density: 2.70 grams per cubic centimeter
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Melting Point: 1,220.58 degrees F
  • Boiling Point: 4,566 degrees F
  • Number of isotopes (atoms of the same element with a different number of neutrons): 22
  • Most common isotopes: Al-27 and Al-26
  • How Aluminum got its name: comes from the Latin word, alumen.

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