- Atomic Number: 13
- 2551.9 °C (4566 °F)
- 660.3 °C (1220.5 °F)
- Hans Christian Oersted in 1824
Aluminium is used in mostof the daily products made of metals. It is a chemical element having an atomic number of 13.Aluminium belongs to the group of post-transition metals. It is an abundant element found on the earth which,after iron, is the second most used metal on the earth.
Characteristics and Properties
In the boron group of the periodic table, aluminium is a silvery-white metal. Its density is low. It has a good mechanical strength,and it can resist corrosion easily. The outer shell or valence shell of aluminium comprises 3 electrons. Aluminium is a very reactive element. It is a non-magnetic metal havingvery good electrical conductivity.
A few more characteristics and properties of aluminium are as follows:
- Very reactive element
- Good thermal conductor
- Good electrical conductor
Being a very abundant element,aluminium is available at a cheaper price. In spite of being cheap, it is a lightweight metal having good mechanical strength. Therefore, aluminium is used in thousands of products.
Generally, aluminium metal is combined with other metals for preparing alloys of various properties,which are utilised in different applications, e.g., in making of airplane frame, automobile parts and certain other things. A very important use of aluminium is in electrical transmission lines which carry powerto very far-off places. It is sobecause aluminium has good electrical conductivity and mechanical strengthwhich is also available at cheap rates.
Besides the use of aluminium in metallic form, there are different compounds of aluminium which are widely used worldwide. For instance, aluminium chloride has a number of uses in petrol refining companies,and aluminium sulphate is used in various water treatment plants for the purpose of treating water.
Where is it Found?
In the list of abundant elements,aluminium comes at number 3after oxygen and silicon. It is not present in its elemental form on the earth which is a very reactive element. There more than 270 minerals of aluminium present in different parts around the world. But bauxite, beryl, feldspar and cryoliteare the most economical minerals. Bauxite contains a very high amount of aluminium oxide; therefore, most of the aluminium is obtained from bauxite nowadays.
According to records, the compound of aluminium (alum) was in use since the 5th century BCE. At that time, people used the alum for defence purpose and for dyeing mordant.
Aluminium was not recognised as an element until Hans Christian Oersted, in 1824, successfully produced it, though its compounds were in use. It was in 1825 when he presented the sample of his newly discovered element.
At the time of discovery of aluminium, there was no economical method of mass producing it. Hence, at some point in time, the price of aluminium was more than that of gold. But after the development of a process of extracting aluminium from the minerals by electrolysis, aluminium became very cheap.
- In the list of most abundant elements,aluminium is the third, but it accounts for only 8% of the earth’s crust.
- A very efficient way of producing aluminiumis the recycling of aluminium. To recycle the aluminium,it takes only 5% of the energy in comparisonwith its extraction of bauxite.
- To produce white flames and white sparks,aluminium is also used in fireworks.