Curious knowledge about aluminum

19.03.2019

Aluminum is one of the youngest metals discovered by man. In nature it is not found in its pure form, therefore it was possible to obtain it only in the 19th century, thanks to the development of chemistry and the appearance of electricity. For a century and a half, aluminum has gone an incredibly interesting way from the precious metal to the material used absolutely in every sphere of human activity.

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Extraction of aluminium

Initially, aluminum was mined in small quantities, people were not immediately able to identify the exact areas of the crust where this element was located. From the mined ingots, originally created precious jewelery that not everyone could afford. The first aluminum product is considered to be medals with bas-reliefs of Napoleon. Over time, this metal has began to be detected more often and it began to be actively used in the mass industry.

There was a time:
  • Napoleon III issued an order for the manufacture of aluminum cutlery. They were provided only at important ceremonial feasts, the emperor himself and his honored guests. Other guests had the right to use only devices made of gold and silver. In 1860, aluminum was in demand as a fashionable piece of jewelry. Every important person should have such an ornament.
  • In its pure form, this metal is almost never found, but it easily combines with other substances. Pure aluminum in negligibly small quantities was found only in volcanic vents. For the first time, pure aluminium was obtained in the experiment in 1825. A scientific breakthrough was made by the Danish scientist Hans Oersted.
  • Once aluminum was called the “King of Metals” due to the fact that its production was incredibly expensive, the cost of which exceeded the same for obtaining the same amount of gold. This situation remained until the almost simultaneous discovery in 1886 of a process in which liquid aluminum was obtained from alumina by electrolysis using molten cryolite. The authors of the breakthrough solutions were Charles Hall and Paul Eru. Despite the more advanced methods created subsequently, the Hall-Eru process became the basis for modern metal production and is still actively used today. Later, in Oberlin College, where Hall studied, a monument to a talented chemist was erected. It was made, of course, from aluminum.
  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, Alfred Vilm received an alloy called “duralumin”, that is, “strong aluminum”. This greatly expanded the possibilities of using aluminum. Since 1919, this alloy began to be used in aircraft manufacturing.
  • The exact date of birth of the aluminum industry in Russia is May 14, 1932, when the first aluminum ingot was obtained in the Volkhov plant, Leningrad Region. For this plant the raw materials were mined in the Tikhvin bauxite deposit. Since that time, on the territory of the USSR has began to build factories for its production.