Aluminium is another very important metal. It is light, strong and a good conductor of heat and electricity. Aluminium has historically been used to make cooking pots and electric cables, but the metal is increasingly being used for car manufacturing. Cars made from aluminium parts are lighter and need less fuel to run. Recycled aluminium can also be used to make car components.
‘Bauxite’ is the principle ore of aluminium. This claylike, earthy substance is found in the Earth’s crust. It contains aluminium mixed with a number of chemicals including oxygen. Electricity is used to separate the metal in a process called ‘electrolysis’.
Aluminium can be manufactured into strips for industrial use.
The electrolysis process
• Molten alumina (aluminium oxide) and cryolite (another aluminium compound) are poured into the reduction pot.
• Alumina is made up of positively charged aluminium particles and negatively charged oxygen particles.
• When electricity is passed through the system, the oxygen moves to the positive carbon ‘anodes’ while the aluminium collects on the negative ‘cathode’ floor.
• The pure aluminium can then be siphoned off.
Picture Credit : Google