The chemical element aluminium is the most widespread metal on Earth, and the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon yet it does not occur in nature in the pure state. The metal easily binds with other elements and is usually found in bauxite, cryolite and over 270 other minerals.
This element can boast of two spelling variants. The spelling “aluminum” is widely used in the USA and Canada. The term “aluminium” is preferred outside North America. However, both of the terms are equally justifiable and none of them is superior to the other.
Aluminium is a silvery-white metal with the symbol Al in the Periodic Table. Its CAS number is 7429-90-5. The atomic number for aluminium is 13. The chemical belongs to boron group and has the face-centered cubic crystal structure.
This metal is very soft and lightweight, it is about three times lighter than steel. Its density is only 2.70 g/cm3, atomic mass for aluminium is 26.9815. But at the same time, it is strong, durable, nonmagnetic, and nonsparkling that makes the element one of the key engineering materials. The melting point of the chemical is 660.32 °C. It is the second most malleable metal and can be easily processed in the cold and hot state.
Aluminium dissolves rapidly in concentrated hydrochloric acid and can be vigorously attacked by alkalis, like potassium hydroxide. However, it subdues slowly to most dilute acids and even concentrated nitric acid renders it passive.
Due to its properties, the uses of aluminium and its compounds are quite diverse. The pure element is not strong, that’s why it is almost always used in the alloys. It is widely applied in:
- Manufacturing of different kinds of transport, like trucks, airplanes, vessels, etc.;
- Water treatment;
- Electrical transmission lines;
- Production of packaging: cans, barrels, etc.;
- Machinery and electronics;
- Fabrication of kitchen utensils, and many others.
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