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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Aluminium

Ancient Greeks and Romans used aluminium salts as dyeing mordants and as astringents for dressing wounds.

A Roman goldsmith may have discovered aluminum metal 1800 years before modern chemists did. Pliny the Elder recorded a story about a metal that was bright as silver but much lighter, which was presented to Tiberius (reigned 14–37 AD) but the Emperor had the discoverer killed in order to ensure the metal would not diminish the value of his own gold and silver assets. 

The earliest citation given in the Oxford English Dictionary for any word used as a name for this element is alumium, which British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy employed in 1808 for the metal he was trying to isolate electrolytically from the mineral alumina. Davy settled on aluminum by the time he published his 1812 book Chemical Philosophy: "This substance appears to contain a peculiar metal, but as yet Aluminum has not been obtained in a perfectly free state, though alloys of it with other metalline substances have been procured sufficiently distinct to indicate the probable nature of alumina."

The metal was first produced in 1825 (in an impure form) by Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian ├śrsted. He reacted anhydrous aluminium chloride with potassium amalgam and yielded a lump of metal looking similar to tin.

Aluminium was originally so expensive and cherished that Napoleon III held a banquet where the most honored guests were given aluminium utensils, while the others made do with gold.

American inventor Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of man-made aluminum in 1886 after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister Julia Brainerd Hall.

The Monadnock Building is a skyscraper in the south Loop community area of Chicago. The north half of the building was built in 1891, and its decorative staircases were the first use of aluminum in building construction.

In 1911, Bern-based Tobler began wrapping its chocolate bars in aluminium foil, including the unique triangular chocolate bar, Toblerone.

The first use of foil in the United States was in 1913 for wrapping Life Savers, candy bars, and gum

Reynolds Metals' 'Reynolds Wrap' first went on sale on September 16, 1947.

By Lewis Ronald Wikipedia Commons

Right before launching the two Voyagers in 1977, NASA scientists used kitchen-grade aluminum foil to cover critical parts of the probes to protect it from unanticipated radiation at Jupiter. It worked.

There are two pieces of aluminum from the destroyed World Trade Center on the surface of Mars. They were quietly built into two of the Mars Rovers.

Aluminum was the first metal to attain widespread use since the prehistoric discovery of iron.

Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust, and the third most abundant element, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface.

Aluminium ranks as the second-most-consumed industrial metal in the world after iron.

It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials.

Tin foil is made from aluminum.

Despite its prevalence in the environment, aluminium salts are not known to be used by any form of life.

Transparent aluminum, the sci-fi material concocted in Star Trek IV as a lighter material to use for tank glass, is now actually a real thing. Aluminum Oxynitride (AlON) is a ceramic composed of aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen.

In 2005, the People's Republic of China was the top producer of aluminium with almost a one-fifth world share, followed by Russia, Canada, and the USA.

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