Aluminum was first discovered by Hans Christian Orsted, a Danish Chemist, but it was in impure form. Aluminum is the most abundant metal on Earth and the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Aluminum is 8.2% of the Earth’s crust, yet it is almost always found in a compound such as Aluminum Oxide and Potassium Aluminum Sulfate. Aluminum is the fourth lightest metal, behind only lithium, beryllium and magnesium. Hans Orsted first produced tiny amounts of aluminum in 1825. Two years later a different way to extract it was discovered by Friedrich Wöhler and by 1845 he made samples big enough so that its properties could be ascertained. In 1854 Wöhler’s method was improved on by Henri Etienne Saint-Claire Deville. This new method allowed aluminum to be mass produced at $40 a kilo as opposed to the $1200 a kilo with Wöhler’s method. In 1886 three chemists independently found a way to extract aluminum from bauxite. These chemists were an American named Charles Martin Hall, a Frenchman named Paul L. T. Héroult, and an Austrian Chemist named Karl Joseph Bayer. Their methods are still used in most of today’s aluminum production. After the mass production started the price of aluminum dropped to $0.60 per kilo. Aluminum is used in almost everything, from utensils to mirrors to rocket and airplane parts. Because it is lightweight it is also used in electrical lines.
Aluminum has a melting point of 660° C (1220° F) and a boiling point of 2467° C (4473° F). Also, aluminum is highly durable because when it comes into contact with air it rapidly forms a layer of aluminum oxide which resists corrosion. The metal also compounds well with other elements and compounds. For example, when aluminum is mixed with powdered iron oxide it produces thermite. Thermite creates a heat far greater than any wooden fire because when it is heated the aluminum rapidly removes the oxygen from the iron, causing it to melt
Aluminum has many...