From computers to cookware and everything in between, aluminum is everywhere in our daily lives whether it’s visible or not. Because of how versatile it is, naturally many questions surround the material. For instance, “Where is aluminum found?” and “How strong is aluminum?”
Below, we detail the answers to these questions along with even more interesting facts about aluminum.
Where Is Aluminum Found?
Like many other metals, aluminum isn’t found naturally—it’s mined as bauxite and cryolite which can then be refined into aluminum. Bauxite is generally the more useful as it contains 52% aluminum oxide.
Aluminum is actually the most abundant material found in the Earth’s crust, but the process of making it takes a lot of work. Because of this (and because aluminum is able to be endlessly recycled without degradation), it’s best to recycle aluminum whenever possible.
How Strong Is Aluminum?
When it comes to strength in materials, there are different kinds of strength making it difficult to say whether one metal is clearly stronger than another just because it’s stronger in a certain way. For example, tensile strength (the ability of a metal to resist being pulled apart by opposing forces acting in a straight line) may be higher in one metal but much lower in compressive strength (the ability of a metal to withstand pressures acting on a given plane).
That being said, what can be useful to discuss is the overall relative strength compared to other metals as that does vary. A good comparison is the difference between aluminum and steel. In this case, steel is stronger. But, it’s important to keep in mind that if weight is the primary concern, then aluminum’s strength-to-weight ratio may make it the more natural choice as it’s an incredibly lightweight metal.
Aluminum Is Resistant to Surprisingly High Levels of Heat
If you ever touch a piece of aluminum on a hot day you might be surprised only to find it mildly warm depending on the temperature outside. That’s because it takes temperatures in excess of 1,220℉ (660℃) to smelt aluminum. As such, aluminum can commonly be found in applications where it can be a heat shield like in computer parts or mechanical operations that give off a lot of heat.
Aluminum Is Super Resistant to Corrosion
Because aluminum doesn’t contain iron, it takes a very long time to oxidize. So long in fact, that it can take up to years for any signs of corrosion to be visible depending on the application. This property is especially useful in the aerospace industry as planes are frequently exposed to the elements that would cause rapid corrosion if other metals were used in place of aluminum.
Overall, aluminum is an amazing material that offers a plethora of uses for a wide range of applications.