Why Aluminium Is The Luckiest Unlucky MetalWhy Aluminium Is The Luckiest Unlucky Metal

You may not realise this, but aluminium is present everywhere. It can be found in windows, in doors and automobiles. It can be found in wires, foils and cans. You can look around you house, your school, or your office; aluminium is an ever-present element; and much of this world has made room for it now. Do you know that the paint you see in your walls has traces of aluminium? The utensils you use at home is made of aluminium; you use them every day, but you do not realise it.

Today, aluminium is the second most produced and most utilised metal, iron being the first. In fact, it also occurs second to iron in quantity and value. Next to oxygen and silicon, aluminium is known to be the second most abundant component to be found in the earth's crust. Despite its reputation, however, aluminium (or aluminium) is not a free metal.

It occurs naturally as aluminium silicate which is a compound whose chemical make-up consists of aluminium, oxygen, silicon and even hydrogen. To be able to extract aluminium from aluminium is not exactly simple. Since it is a chemically difficult process, aluminium that is derived from aluminium silicate is very expensive. Many manufacturers requiring the use of aluminium, therefore, is not using aluminium that is derived from Bauxite, which is an impure hydrated aluminium oxide.

Aluminium is such a versatile element. It has quite a number of desirable properties; making it a popular material to be used in a number of industries. Compared to steel, aluminium weighs just one-third in terms of volume. Despite its being lightweight, however, aluminium is still known to be resilient and durable. It is often used for packaging purposes; foils are widely used in food packaging and in the cans of ready-to-drink beverages. It can be processed to be thinner than two pages of a magazine; and weigh less than half an ounce. Aluminium cans, with its paper-thin fineness, are able to store about ninety pounds per square inch of pressure. In fact, aluminium cans can resist pressure three times more than a car tire can. Even with its known tensile strength, however, it is still able to combine with other metals to form alloys that contain copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

It is also known to have high strength-to-weight ratio; making it very suitable as a material to be used for aircrafts, automobiles, railroad cars and so many other things; the characteristic lightness of aluminium makes it a great material for transportation. Aluminium, in its simplicity, has conquered different industries worldwide. It has made successful contributions in transportation, construction, packaging, machinery, electronics, and is even the material used for mirrors.

Aluminium, when it is left to evaporate in a vacuum, is able to from very find layers of aluminium oxide which is used to render surfaces smooth and glossy. This has even made aluminium most preferred as a coating material over silver, to prevent it from deteriorating.

Aluminium is a super star element. It is quite powerful and rather versatile, but it sits on the most unlucky spot in the periodic table --- the number thirteen.
by John Schofield
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