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The chemical formula of Aluminum is indicated by the formula Al or Elemental Aluminum. Aluminum is classified under the Elemental mineral class. Aluminum derived its name from a Latin word alumen for alum. The dyeing mordants used by the ancient Greeks and by ancient Romans are in form of Aluminum salts. They also used it as astringents for dressing wounds. They also used alum as styptic. Guyton de Morveau suggested naming the base alum alumine in the year 1761. The existence of alum metal base is identified by Humphry Davy in the year 1808 and he actually first named it alumium and later called it aluminum.  In 1825, Aluminum is first isolated and it became commercially available in the late 19th century. In the year 1825, a Danish chemist Hans Oersted, was the first to prepare a metallic Aluminum. In his experiment, he actually heated dry Aluminum Chloride with Potassium metal, thus producing an Aluminum metal. In 1827, Friedrich Wöhler isolated aluminum by mixing anhydrous aluminum chloride with potassium. Furthermore, the discovery of Aluminum in bauxite ore was credited to Pierre Berthier and successful extraction of Aluminum was made. Henri Saint-Claire Deville, a Frenchman successfully improved Wöhler’s method in the year 1846. In 1850s, Robert Bunsen set an electric current passing through molten sodium aluminum oxide to prepare an Aluminum metal. However, Aluminum remained a curiosity and a simple laboratory chemical due to the expensiveness of both electricity and potassium during those times. But this is not long after the invention of the mechanical electrical generator. In 1859, Henri Saint-Claire Deville described his improved methods of Aluminum isolation in a book that is also discussing the substitution of sodium for the considerably more expensive potassium. In the year 1886, both 22 year old Paul Héroult of France and Charles Martin Hall of Oberlin, Ohio, independently discovered and patented the process of electrolytically decomposing the dissolve aluminum oxide in molten cryolite. The only method remaining of commercially producing Aluminum metals is by the Hall-Heroult process. In 1893, the statue called Eros is one of the first statues to be cast in Aluminum is found in Piccadilly Circus London. In Germany, soon after Adolf Hitler rise to power, Germany became the world leader in Aluminum production. By the year 1942, the new hydroelectric power projects like the Grand Coulee Dam of United States gave Nazi Germany something they could not compete with. This is relative to the capability of US to produce enough Aluminum to manufacture sixty thousand warplanes in four years.

 

Aluminum actually has an atomic number 13 in the periodic table of elements. It has been known scientifically, under optical mineralogy that elemental form of Aluminum rarely occurs naturally. It is considered as the third most abundant metal in the crust layer of the Earth, just after oxygen and silicon. Native Aluminum is called Aluminum all over the world. This Aluminum in its pure form is considerably very weak and very soft that has also been evaluated in petrology. But the mechanical properties of this native element can be improved greatly if some other metals like manganese, copper or magnesium will alloy it. These several different fragments that may be found present in Aluminum when evaluated between crossed nicols of petrographic polarizing microscope. It has been known that the electrical conductivity of native Aluminum is only 60 percent of that of copper. But despite this scientific fact, Aluminum is a much-preferred metal for many electrical transmission applications because of its low cost and lightweight properties. Per unit of its weight, Aluminum exhibits a relatively strong strength of force. It is considered half as strong as titanium but is considerably as strong as steel. These properties together with its low cost property make Aluminum more popular metal in some businesses like building things from beer cans, building lawn chairs, and the making of boats and planes. In Aluminum manufacturing process, the only difficult point is upon welding it. But it is considerably easy in some other processing because Aluminum is known as the sixth most ducile and the second most malleable metal on Earth. This Aluminum is known remarkable for its resistance to corrosion. Pure Aluminum has lower melting point that Aluminum oxide.

 

            Aluminum is scientifically an extremely reactive element. It has been known that corundum or some microscopic oxide layers, which are visible under polarized light microscope used in the field of optical mineralogy, can be instantly formed at any bare surface of Aluminum that are considered air tight preventing any further oxidation. Just like magnesium, Aluminum tends to gradually burn under extreme heat. It also has the capability to burn under water by stealing the oxygen from water. Powdered iron oxide and Aluminum when mixed together makes up the mixture called thermite. The oxygen from the rust is stolen by Aluminum when ignited, thus great deal of heat is generated leaving the iron in molten state. To be oxidized powdered Aluminum is also used as the primary fuel in slow explosives like fireworks. It is also used in some solid fuel rockets like the Space Shuttle. It is usually a kind of metal that can be easily cast or machined.

 

            Aluminum commonly appears in silvery white color in reflected light of petrographic polarizing microscope. This is due to the thin layers of oxidation that forms quickly when metal is exposed to air. Its crystals are most commonly found opaque in appearance. Aluminum is most commonly found crystallizing in isometric system of crystal formation. It has limited microscopic inclusion commonly appearing in dark borders when viewed closely between crossed nicols of petrographic polarizing microscope. They are sometime found as nodules in some volcanic rocks. Aluminum is most commonly found exhibiting metallic luster in reflected light of polarizing microscope used in the field of optical mineralogy. Aluminum is most commonly found with absent cleavage even when evaluated under several adjustments on the aperture diaphragm of polarized microscope. Aluminum is a considerably very soft metal and its hardness measure when evaluated using the Mohs scale is only 1.5. Aluminum is commonly found leaving a white streak when it is rubbed on a white porcelain streak plate. The specific gravity measure of Aluminum is approximately 2.75 grams per cubic centimeters, which is considered as very light for metals. Element Aluminum is chemically non-toxic.

 

            Aluminum is usually associated with other minerals like zinc, gold, and copper. It is commonly found combined in about 270 or more different minerals. A bauxite mineral, which is a combination of hydrated iron oxide and hydrated aluminum oxide, is considered as the chief ore of Aluminum. This ore mineral clearly shows the presence of Aluminum when viewed with the aid of an ore polarizing microscope. A mineral known as Cryolite is also considered important in the production of Aluminum metal. But this Cryolite however, is not used, as an ore of Aluminum and Aluminum is not really extracted from it. Metallic Aluminum is non-magnetic and is also non-sparking. Aluminum commonly occurs in volcanic muds. It can be also found as tiny grains along with other elemental metals that occur in highly unusual environments. Aluminum is commonly abundant metallic element in feldspars, laterite, micas, and clay minerals. They can be also found in gemstones like garnet, topaz, ruby, sapphire, and some other chersoberyl. These gemstones exhibit splendid images when viewed under gemological microscopes. Sapphire is known as a crystalline aluminum oxide. It has limited occurrence in types of localities like Zaire, Russia, and Baku, Azerbaidzhan.



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Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 7:55 am
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The Native Elements Mineral Class
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