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Aluminum is a lightweight silver-colored metal that can be formed into almost any shape It can be rolled into thick plates for armored tanks or into thin foil for chewing gum wrappers It may be drawn into wire or made into cans Aluminum does not rust and it resists wear from weather and chemicals Aluminum is called aluminium in English-speaking countries outside the United States Its atomic number is 13 and its atomic weight is 269815Pure aluminum known as Al on the periodic scale is soft and has little strength For this reason aluminum producers almost always blend it with small amounts of copper magnesium zinc and other elements to form aluminum alloys The added elements give aluminum strength and other properties that make it one of the most useful of all metals In fact the world uses more aluminum than any other metal except iron and steel The largest share of aluminum alloy production goes to the construction industry for use in such items as window frames gutters and the roofs and sides of buildings Manufacturers of transportation equipment use huge amounts of aluminum in airplanes automobiles boats railroad cars and trucks The packaging industry makes beverage cans bottle caps foil pouches frozen food trays and other items of aluminum Aluminum is used in much electrical equipment including light bulbs power lines and telephone wires Thousands of other products also contain aluminum These products include air conditioners cookware golf clubs knitting needles lawn furniture license plates paints refrigerators rocket fuel toasters and zippersAluminum is the most plentiful metallic element in the earths crust and the third most common of all the elements after oxygen and silicon Aluminum makes up about eight percent of the earths crust But unlike some other metals such as gold and silver aluminum never occurs free in nature It is always chemically combined with other elements People had no way of separating aluminum from these elements until the 1800s Scientists
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