Aluminium can be found virtually everywhere around us; from the aluminium foil we store in our kitchens to the cars that we use to drive to work every day, not to mention that can of red bull you had to start the day, or that refrigerator you’re using to store your lunch for later. But whilst aluminium may seem like quite a plain and unremarkable material in comparison to many others, you may be surprised to find that there is a lot more to this non-ferrous metal than what meets the eye. In this article, we’re going to be introducing you to 7 interesting facts about aluminium that you probably haven’t heard of before:
1. It’s the World’s Most Naturally Abundant Metal
In fact, it makes up 8% of the Earth’s crust, however it can never be found in its pure form. Rather, you can find it in minerals such as bauxite and cryolite, which it then has to be extracted from.
2. It Was More Expensive than Gold
Pretty unbelievable, right? In 1852, the price of aluminium was US$34 per ounce, whereas gold was US$19 per ounce in comparison. So, how exactly did aluminium go from being one of the most expensive metals around to the cheap, mass produced material we know of today?
Although aluminium was naturally abundant (unlike gold), it was also incredibly difficult to refine in those times, which made mass production of the material incredibly difficult and expensive to achieve. Luckily, a French engineer named Paul Héroult and an American engineer named Charles Martine Hall eventually devised an electrolytic process called the Hall-Héroult process. This was a large-scale production method that made the process of smelting aluminium quick and cheap, but also what jumpstarted the diminishing of its value over the years.
3. Lightweight yet Durable
Aluminium has a very high strength-to-weight ratio- just take aluminium foil for example! Although it’s incredibly lightweight and flexible, it’s also quite tough and durable as well. Aluminium therefore proves itself as an ideal material for use in the construction of motor vehicles, buildings, and even aircrafts and spacecrafts, where high strength and durability are of vital importance.
4. Energy Efficient Recycling
It requires around 5% of the energy used to extract aluminium virgin ores to recycle existing aluminium products instead. That means that by choosing to recycle aluminium, you’re saving 95% of the energy that would be used to produce new aluminium, and only emitting 5% of the greenhouse gases that would be produced overall as a result.
5. It Can be Recycled Over and Over Again
Did you know that 75% of all aluminium ever made is still in use today? Well, it’s all thanks to the wonderful process of metal recycling. What’s more, aluminium can be recycled over and over again without losing any of its properties, unlike materials such as paper, plastic and timber.
6. It’s Found on the Moon
Prepare to be disappointed, because it’s not cheese that you’ll be finding on the moon. Aluminium makes up 6-10% of the moon’s crust, whilst 60% of it is composed of oxygen, 16-17% silicon, followed by smaller amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron and titanium.
7. It’s Great at Reflecting
The reflective properties of aluminium make it excellent for a number of purposes; for one, it’s used in the production of telescopes. In addition to this, it’s also ideal for use in food preservation or emergency blankets. Mirrors, candy wrappers and windows frames all use aluminium in their manufacturing as well.
Being the world’s most recyclable material, we always encourage Perth businesses to recycle their unwanted scrap aluminium. And when you choose to partner with Allied Metal Recyclers for the recycling of your scrap metal materials, we always guarantee to make it as much of a fast, convenient and cost-effective experience as possible. Moreover, we ensure to give you the very best price in exchange for your scrap metal materials, so you can always count on a good return when it comes to getting your cash for scrap.
For more information on our metal recycling services, contact Allied Metal Recyclers today!