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Metal. Light, strong, conductive, and it won't rust. And it doesn't cost a fortune. Aluminium is good for making cars, saucepans, aeroplanes, kitchen foil, roofs, fizzy drink cans, ladders, frying pans, boats, telescope mounts, and oodles of other stuff. Aluminium is recyclable and is a natural resource, but it will never run out (because the earth's crust is to some extent made of it).
It's not expensive, but it used to be. Napoleon had his best cutlery made of it, Napoleon's second-best cutlery being gold.
Aluminium can be moulded into casts, worked with machine tools, made into sheet metal, and can be rolled into very thin sheet metal thinner than paper, which can be used, and then recycled by such worthy organisations as Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also check: whatever happened to The Blind Dog?!
Aluminium is in the same group of metals as Boron
Here's a list of international aluminium contacts...
European Aluminium Association
www.aluminium.com - when checked 2008/10/19 the domain looked like it was being cybersquatted!
International Aluminium Institute
Council for Aluminium in Building - was http://www.c-a-b.org.uk/public/alumin.htm
Aluminium Centrum .nl - Welcome Back!
Aluminium Association of India
Aluminium at Talis (was http://www.talis.com.au/i/aluminium.htm ?)
Australian Aluminium Council
History of Aluminium at EAA.net (was http://www.aluminium.org/pages/material/material.html)
Worcester Aluminium Alloys
Association de l'aluminium du Canada
Aluminium Zentrale eV
LB Aluminium Berhad
European Aluminium Foil Association
www.sistemaluminyum.com.tr of Istanbul - Welcome Back!
Aluminium Warehouse UK
www.KeiliMetals.com - Welcome Back!
To add to here, for example to enlighten me on some good URLs, or to promote your own company if you're in to Aluminium business, e-mail
Aluminium, Aluminum, Alumium...
Incidentally, it's also known as "Aluminum" as well as "Aluminium", but was originally named "Alumium" by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808 - More about the history of the spelling of aluminium/aluminum/alumium at www.worldwidewords.org/articles/aluminium.htm
Other facts: Density 2.7 , Melting point 660oC
Why doesn't aluminium rust? Surely aluminium is more reactive than iron, so wouldn't it corrode more? No. Because the oxide of aluminium that forms when it oxidises in air is the same size as the aluminium metal and so forms a protective layer. In contrast, iron when it oxidises suffers from the fact that the iron oxide produced is much bigger than the iron and forms a destructive RUST!
What is aluminium made of? It's just made of aluminium atoms. It's a pure element as seen in the periodic table of atoms. Even though you sometimes hear scrap metal dealers refer to it as "ally" or "alloy" this is a colloquialism rather than a fact. The idea probably originated as aluminium metal is funny lightweight stuff which couldn't be categorised by scrapmen as "heavy iron", cast iron, "light iron", copper, or lead. Although it's true that there are some alloys based on aluminium, such as "Dural" etc, the basic aluminium metal is just aluminium. Similar misconceptions used to exist about some other metals and can still be seen in their names, for example "platinum" means "little silver" and "nickel" derives from terms meaning "devil's copper". Alloy Wheels are snazzy car accessories and can be made from a variety of light strong mixtures of metals.
In Hungary in 2010 there was a spill of red sludge from MAL Hungarian Aluminium Production which scared many uninformed people because the stuff looked worrying on the news. However, the fact is that the Hungarian Red Sludge was not as toxic as it was pretended to be.
Aluminium foil is traditionally known to be very therapeutic for mental patients. For 55p or less, it's possible to line a hat with foil, and then check the improvements to the state of mind in schizophrenia. In fact, it would make good sense for psychiatrists to prescribe ALUMINIUM FOIL rather than anti-psychotic drugs. (Don't take my word for it, try it!)
Transparent Aluminium is famed for its use on Star Trek as very strong window glass. This has some basis in physics, as some gemstones (ruby, sapphire) are crystalline compounds involving aluminium.
Any bad links? They were last checked 2011/10/08
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