What are the uses, facts, history, and properties of the element known as Aluminum?

Essay by skierdude1000Junior High, 8th gradeA+, December 2003

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General Statistics

Name: Aluminum

Symbol: Al

Atomic Number: 13

Atomic Mass: 26.981539 amu

Density: 2.702 g/cm3

Melting Point: 660.37 °C

Freezing Point: 2467.0 °C

Discovery and History

In 1825, a Danish chemist named Hans Christian Oersted was the first to isolate aluminum. He performed this by using a chemical process involving potassium amalgam. The name was given from alumen, the Latin word for the mineral alum. Sometime between 1827 and 1845 Friedrick Wöhler, a German chemist, improved Oersted's process by using metallic potassium. In 1854 Henri Sainte-Claire Deville of France, obtained the metal by reducing aluminum chloride with sodium. Napoleon III gave financial support for Deville, who in return established a large-scale experimental plant and displayed pure aluminum at the Paris Exposition of 1855. Charles Martin Hall of Ohio and Paul L T Heroult of France made aluminum available for mass production in 1886. The two men dissolved alumina in molten cryolite, and formed pure aluminum.

Abundance & Availability

Aluminum is the most common metallic element in the world. It is also the third most common element in the world. Aluminum is found in many things such as ruby, beryl, feldspar, corundum, and kaolinite. Aluminum is mined from bauxite. Bauxite is a name for ore that contains a large amount of aluminum. When rainwater breaks down feldspar, clay forms. The aluminum in the feldspar is released into the clay and is locked up by the clay. This causes aluminum to become very concentrated. Most of the world's aluminum comes from Guinea, Australia, Jamaica, and Brazil. Aluminum is very hard to mine and that is why it is so costly for companies to mine it.

Description, Properties, and Forms

Aluminum is one of the lightest metals and is silvery-gray in appearance. It is also very soft and therefore easy to shape.