Aluminium. Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

Aluminium is a light metal used for making a large number of things we see and use every day. They range from Aeroplanes to soft drink cans. Aluminium is the most common metal found in the Earth's soil.BauxiteThe first step in the production of Aluminium is to mine the ore, which is called Bauxite. Bauxite is formed by the natural weathering of sedimentary rocks which contain a high proportion of Aluminium- bearing minerals.Aluminium is the most abundant material in the Earth's crust and the third most Abundant in all of the Elements after Oxygen and silicon.The Bauxite is found in a layer of three to four metres deep on average, beneath about half a metre of topsoil.What is Aluminium used for?Aluminium is widely used in the transport, construction, packaging and electrical industries. In the Transport sector aluminium is used in cars (engine blocks, cylinder heads, transmission housing and body panels); in trucks and buses (sheet and plate for bodies); in railway stock and In aircraft. In the construction sector aluminium is used in sheet products for roofing and wall cladding, in extrusion for windows and doors and in castings for builders hardware. In the packaging sector aluminium is used in the form of alloy sheet for beverage can bodies and tops; as foil for house hold and commercial wrap and in manufacturing packaging products such as cartons for fruit juice and packaging for pharmaceuticals. In the electrical sector aluminium is used In the form of wire, normally reinforced with steel to form cables.The Economic and environmental benefits of AluminiumAluminium is a metal which can easily and economically recycled, by melting it down and casting new products.Recycled aluminium is known as secondary aluminium. Recycling aluminium uses only 5% of the energy needed to produce the primary metal from Bauxite. Any aluminium product can be recycled; the metal can be melted again and again without losing any of its properties. One of the most important sources of secondary aluminium is aluminium cans.Aluminium is light, strong and pliable. When compared with most other metals, less energy is required to manufacture products from aluminium and transpot them, resulting in significant energy cost savings for industry.How is it madeThe second step in the production of aluminium is the recovery of the alumina (aluminium oxide) from the Bauxite using a chemical refining process called the Bayer process. The Process, which was invented in 1888 by German scientist, Karl Bayer, has four stages:DigestionThe Bauxite ore is finely ground in the mills and then mixed with a hot, caustic soda solution which dissolves the alumina contained in the Bauxite. Impurities such as silica, iron and titanium compounds are not dissolved.ClarificationThe solution of the alumina in caustic soda passes into rows of thicker tanks, in which the solid impurities sink to the bottom as a fine, red mud. This red mud is a waste product of the process, and is washed several times...

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