There were times when aluminum was much higher in price than gold. Those were the early 1800s, when the element was discovered and its unique properties began to inspire great hopes.
Aluminum is among the most common metallic elements found in Earth’s crust, and it is only second to silicon. It takes up about 8% of the crust’s weight. However, it is not found in its pure form. It is also contained, though in smaller quantities, in the mantle beneath the Earth’s crust.
For the most part, aluminum is found as part of potassium aluminum sulfate – a compound known as ‘alum’ – from which it was first extracted in 1825 by Hans Christian Oersted, a Danish chemist. However, it was hardly possible to crank it out at that time, and the metal remained highly prized until the late 1800s. Because aluminum easily reacts with oxygen, it is found in silicates and oxides.
Aluminum is produced thanks to the fusion of hydrogen and magnesium – a reaction, which takes place in stars. Therefore, it is also one of the most common elements in Universe.
Today, this metal is integral part of our life thanks to its unique properties. Soft and lightweight, it can be processed easily. Most important, it is more resistant to corrosion than any other alloy.
There is hardly a sphere where aluminum is not used. Thanks to high electric conductivity and relatively low density, most power wires and cables are made of aluminum.
The metal’s light weight has paved its ways in transportation because it requires less propelling power. This property also makes essential its use in aircraft and navy. More than 70% of a plane’s body is made of aluminum.
Many household items, furniture, flatware, and construction materials are also made of aluminum, because it does not corrode. This property contributes to its utilitarian and aesthetic value.
Formula for Aluminum
Molar mass: 26.98153860 ± 0.00000080 g/mol
Melting Point: 660 °C (1220 °F)
Boiling Point: 2743 K (2470 °C, 4478 °F)
Density: 2.70 g/cm3