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Aluminum is the most abundant metal and the third most abundant element in the earths crust after oxygen and silicon It accounts for about 8 of the earth s total mass Tarbuck 103 Aluminum is a transition metal and is very chemically reactive too reactive to occur naturally as a free metal Instead it can be found in over 270 different minerals The chief ore of aluminum is bauxite which is a mixture of hydrated aluminum oxide Al2O3xH2O and hydrated iron oxide Fe2O3xH2O wwwScifunchemwiscedu Metalic Aluminum was first prepared in 1825 by Hans Oersted a Danish chemist He produced the sample by heating aluminum chloride with Potassium AlCl3 3 K Al 3 KClIn the 1850 s Robert Bunsen famous for the Bunsen burner discovered that aluminum could be obtained by passing an electrical current through molten sodium aluminum chloride Because of the limited resources of the day not aluminum production would not have been profitable and aluminum remained specifically In 1886 Charles Martin Hall of Oberlin Ohio and Paul Heroult of France independently discovered the process that is the of method used to produce aluminum wwwScifunchemwisceduThe first step in this process is the separation of the of the aluminum oxide from the iron oxide in the bauxite ore The separation is accomplished by dissolving the aluminum oxide in a concentrated sodium hydroxide solutionAl2O3xH2Os 2 OH aq 2 AlOH4 aq x3 H2OlFrom there AlOH3 is precipitated from the solution by adding acid Then the AlOH3 is heated to form alumina Al2O3 Aluminum metal is produced from the electrolytic reduction of alumina wwwScifunchemwiscedu Pure aluminum appears as a silvery-white metal with many unique and advantageous properties that separate it from other metals It is incredibly light density 270 gcm3 making it a suitable replacement for iron or steel to save weight It is also non-toxic and easily machined or cast For added strength it is also easily alloyed EncartaAluminum also weathers far
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