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The Element Aluminium

Sir Humphry Davy

"Sir Humphry Davy"

Definition of the Aluminium Element
Aluminium is a silvery-white, ductile metallic element, the most abundant in the earth's crust but found only in combination, chiefly in bauxite. Aluminum occurs naturally in many foods in low concentrations and is also present in many pharmaceuticals and drinking water.

Refer to Aluminum Reaction for its reaction to Water, Oxygen & Acids. High levels in the body can be toxic. Having good conductive and thermal properties, it is used to form many hard, light, corrosion-resistant alloys. Aluminium is non-toxic (as the metal) nonmagnetic and non-sparking. The Atomic Number of this element is 13 and the Element Symbol is Al.

The Properties of the Aluminium Element
Symbol of Element : Al
Atomic Number: 13
Atomic Mass: 26.981539 amu
Melting Point: 660.37 C - 933.52 K
Boiling Point: 2467.0 C - 2740.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons: 13
Number of Neutrons: 14
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 2.702 g/cm3
Color: silvery-white

What is Aluminium? Physical properties of Aluminium
Aluminium is a tin-white metal which melts at 640 and is very light, having a density of 2.68. It is stiff and strong, and with frequent annealing can be rolled into thin foil. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, though not so good as Copper for a given cross section of wire. It is a tin-white metal which melts at 640 and is very light, having a density of 2.68. It is stiff and strong, and with frequent annealing can be rolled into thin foil. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, though not so good as copper for a given cross section of wire. For additional facts and information refer to Aluminum Properties. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals. Please note that Aluminium is spelt Aluminum in some english speaking countries.

What is Aluminium? Origin / Meaning of the name Aluminium
The name 'Aluminum' was coined by English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), from the Latin words 'alumen' or 'alum' which literally means bitter salt, because it was recognised as a whitish mineral salt. Davy originally called it alumium (1812), but his publishers amended this to aluminum, which remains the U.S. word. British editors amended the name again to aluminium which is the modern preferred British form, to better harmonize with other element names like sodium, potassium, etc.

What is Aluminium? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Aluminium Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Aluminium classified in the 'Other Metals' section which can be located in groups 13, 14, and 15 of the Periodic Table. All of these elements are solid, have a relatively high density and are opaque.

Facts about the Discovery and History of the Aluminium Element
Aluminium was used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, which can be dated back to the 100BC. Alum, as it was called by the ancients was used as a bright red dye and also as an astringent to help in the healing of cuts and wounds. Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) experimented with alumina, the basis of clay, and attempted the extraction of this metal, but failed. He published his findings in 1812 in his book, Elements of Chemical Philosophy, in which he coined the name 'Aluminum'. It was identified  via a reduction of aluminium chloride by the Danish chemist, Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851)  in 1825. It was successfully isolated by Friedrich Wohler in 1827, using similar techniques as those used by Sir Humphry Davy, by means of electrolysis and heating a mixture of aluminum chloride and potassium metal. Charles Martin Hall received a patent for it in 1886.

What is Aluminium? Occurrence of the Aluminium Element
Occurrence of Aluminium. Aluminium never occurs in the free state in nature, owing to its great affinity for Oxygen. In combined form, as oxides, silicates, and a few other salts, it is both abundant and widely distributed, being an essential constituent of all soils and of most rocks excepting limestone and sandstone. Cryolite (Na3AlF6), found in Greenland, and bauxite, which is an aluminium hydroxide usually mixed with some iron hydroxide, are important minerals. It is estimated that aluminium composes about 8% of the earth's crust. In the industries the metal is called Aluminium, but its chemical name is aluminium.

8.1% in Earth's crust bound up in the form of compounds - see Examples of Compounds.
One of the planet's most common but most difficult metal to get
Obtained from its ore bauxite

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 0.005%
% in Sun 0.006%
% in Meteorites 0.91%
% in Earth's Crust 8.1%
% in Oceans 510-7%
% in Humans 0.00009%

Associated Uses of Aluminium
Saucepans, cooking pans and pots
Soda cans
Automobile parts
Production of Boats and Ships
Statues including Eros in Piccadilly Circus in London. The statue was the first in the world to be cast in aluminium and is set on a bronze fountain
Paint Tubes
Components in Airplanes
Abrasive as an oxide
Aluminium recycling

Site Index
Aluminum Reaction
Aluminum Properties
List of Metals
Other Metals
Chemical Formulas

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