In our last article on aluminum facts, we talked about its history, its discovery, its characteristics and its abundance. In this article, we are going to learn about random aluminum fun facts that we are pretty sure will leave you surprised. So, without wasting time any further, let us begin with our list of facts…
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 1-5
1.We learned in our previous article that discovery of aluminum was really difficult and hence, its cost was very high. It was in mid 19th century known as the Metal of Kings.
2. Just how costly was aluminum? Well, a kilo of aluminum was priced at USD 1,200 back in 1852. Compared to this, gold was cheaper at USD 664 a kilo.
3. In 1854, the price of aluminum went down a little because potassium used in aluminum production was replaced by the cheaper alternative of sodium. By 1859, the price of aluminum had gone all the way down to USD 37 a kilo.
4. As of today, aluminum is produced or extracted from its ore using Hall-Héroult process where electricity is used. This is a method of mass production. After the introduction of this process, the price of the element went all the way down to USD 1.20 per kilogram by 1895.
5. As far as Hall-Héroult process of extracting aluminum is concerned, it requires a lot of energy. 1 metric ton of aluminum can be extracted from 17.4 megawatt hours of electrical energy. In comparison, only 1/3rd of that power is required for producing exact same amount of steel.
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 6-10
6. When it comes to recycling aluminum, the amount of electricity required is far far less. Only 5% of the energy is consumed in recycling the same amount of aluminum (1 metric ton).
7. We know that aluminum doesn’t rust when left open in air. It only forms a thin layer of aluminum oxide on the surface, preventing further corrosion. However, there is a way for making aluminum rust. It has to be oxidized using mercury.
8. Do you know the name of the primary ore that is used for extraction of aluminum? It is known as Bauxite.
9. Rubies! Aren’t they beautiful? Did you know that rubies are actually aluminum oxide crystals with a few atoms of aluminum replaced by a few chromium atoms, giving rubies their characteristic color?
10. Chou-Chu was a general of ancient China during the third century. Upon digging his tomb, historians found a piece of jewelry. 85% of the material of the jewelry was actually aluminum. This has left historians wondering exactly how the aluminum was extracted back then. So yes, while credit for discovery of aluminum goes to Europeans, ancient people did it long time back.
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 11-15
11. Is it aluminum or is it aluminium? In 1990, the name that was adopted by IUPAC was aluminium. However in 1993, the name was changed to aluminum. Even to this day, you can find the word ‘aluminium’ in use and it is absolutely correct.
12. Ever wondered who are the largest producers of aluminum in this world? When it comes to production of the metal, Australia, Brazil and China lead the world. Australia stands first.
13. Ever wondered who are the largest producers of aluminum ore in this world? When it comes to aluminum ore, the largest suppliers are Guinea, Australia and Vietnam.
14. Did you know that aluminum is almost completely recyclable? That makes its one of the most incredible metals ever known.
15. Ever wondered why aluminum extraction requires so much of electricity? That’s because the ores that are usually used for aluminum extraction have very high melting point. This makes it really difficult to extract aluminum and hence, more electricity requirement.
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 16-20
16. Whether is it extraction of aluminum or just recycling, a byproduct is produced. That byproduct is known as white dross. White dross is extremely combustible however, it is usually used in asphalt and concrete production.
17. Aluminum has the amazing ability of reflecting 98% of infrared rays and 92% or visible light.
18. At one time, as we said earlier, aluminum was extremely expensive and precious. It is because of this Napoleon III of France actually used aluminum plates for serving state dinner.
19. In America every year, people just throw away enough aluminum that can be used for building the whole fleet of commercial planes in US.
20. Soft drinks cans that we throw away quite often – do you know how long their shelf life is? It is very little. As per Aluminum Association, most of those cans get recycled into new cans and hit the shelves in just 60 days or less.
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 21-25
21. According to Aluminum Association, some of the parts of the biplane’s engine that Wright Brothers used were made of aluminum. That’s because no engine manufacturer was capable of giving engines that were lightweight and still packed the needed horsepower. So, thanks to aluminum, we have airplanes today.
22. Talking of airplanes, did you know that a single Boeing-747 aircraft contains more than 66,000 kilograms or 147,000 pounds of aluminum.
23. Did you know that 75% of all aluminum ever produced in this world is actually in use even today?
24. Aluminum is pretty soft but when zinc, magnesium or copper are mixed with aluminum, it’s strength increases significantly and at the same time, its weight also reduces.
25. Aluminum that is used in this world is almost always in alloy format even though the aluminum alloy can actually contain up to 99% aluminum.
Random Aluminum Fun Facts: 26-30
26. Did you know that wire conduits made of aluminum do not spark like steel wire conduits. Such wires are also corrosion resistant and hence, aluminum plays a very important role in electrical appliances.
27. Aluminum foil is capable of completely blocking bacteria, moisture, light and air and hence, it is extensively used in food packaging and pharmaceutical packaging industries.
28. Pound for pound, the capability of aluminum in absorbing crash energy is two times that of steel and hence, crash rails of vehicles are usually made of aluminum. These aluminum crash rails are capable of folding up like accordion, dissipating and directing away impact force from the occupant of vehicle.
29. Orion MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle) is a next-generation space exploration vehicle of NASA that will make use of aluminum as the major metal for the structure. Lockheed Martin will build the spacecraft using aluminum-lithium.
30. ‘Journey to the Moon’ was a Sci-Fi work of Jules Verne where he described aluminum space rocket. He did that in 1865. It was long before Hall-Héroult process of extracting aluminum was discovered. Commercial use of the metal and that too in space science came much later!