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Aluminum is one of a number of soft metals that scientists call poor metals It can be shaped and twisted into any form It can be rolled into thick plates for armored tanks or into thin foil for chewing gum wrappers It may be drawn into a wire or made into cans Aluminum is a generally popular metal because it does not rust and it resists wear from weather and chemicals Bowman 391 Aluminum is an element Its atomic number is thirteen and its atomic weight is usually twenty-seven Pure aluminum melts at 6602C and boils at 2500C Its density is 27 grams per cube centimeter Aluminum is never found uncombined in nature Bowman 391 Aluminum is a very useful metal that is light easy to shape and can be strong This makes aluminum one of the most used metals in the world right behind iron and steel Geary 185 In its pure state aluminum is quite weak compared to the other metals However its strength can be greatly increased by adding small amounts of alloying elements heat-treating or cold working Only a small percentage of aluminum is used in its pure form It is made into such items as electrical conductors jewelry and decorative trim for alliances and cars A combination of the three techniques has produced aluminum alloys that pound for pound are stronger than structural steel Some common metals used in alloys for aluminum are copper magnesium and zincWalker 31 The added elements give the aluminum strength and other properties Newmark 41 Aluminum is one of the lightest metals It weighs about 1685 pounds per cubic foot about a third as much as steel which weighs 487 pounds per cubic foot Neely 214 As a result aluminum has replaced steel for many uses For example some parts of airplanes automobiles and trucks are now made of aluminum rather than steel because lighter vehicles use less fuel making the aluminum alloy container much
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