Aluminum Facts

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Aluminum, in its impure form, was discovered by Hans Christian Oersted, in 1807 in Copenhagen, Denmark, but it was isolated to its pure form by Friedrich Wöhler, in 1827. The way to obtain aluminum in its pure form is by electrolysis from bauxite. Electrolysis from bauxite is an interesting process, and while investigating aluminum, I discovered three interesting facts about aluminum itself.

Aluminum is the third most abundant metal found in the earth. The earth’s crust is made up of eight percent aluminum, but aluminum is not found in its pure form. In nature it is found as aluminum oxide. The main mining areas, to find it, are in Surinam, Jamaica, Ghana, Indonesia and Russia. Okay, I know I already told you how aluminum is made, which is electrolysis from bauxite, but let’s find out the in depth making. There are two stages in the process of making aluminum. The first stage is to get alumina from bauxite. To do this, there is a series of steps. The steps, in order, are crushing and grinding, digesting, settling, precipitation, and calcination. That’s a lot of steps. The second stage is to get aluminum from alumina. Unlike the first stage, this stage only requires smelting. When they make aluminum, it requires much, but you don’t get as much in return. You need four tons of bauxite to make two tons of alumina, and those two tons of alumina to make only one ton aluminum. So basically when you have four tons of bauxite you only have one ton of aluminum.

Recycle aluminum. Why you may ask, because it saves natural resources, time, money, and energy. Why should we keep remaking something that we have enough of? Since we can reuse aluminum over and over, we should not waste those important things, yet people waste them daily without realizing it. In 2003, 54 billion aluminum cans were recycled, saving the energy equivalent of 15 million barrels of crude oil, which is America's entire gas consumption for one day. Wow, if we recycled, we could...
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