Study of Matter Compounds  Elmhurst College
Atoms Physical Properties Mixtures  Chemistry Department
Elements Chemical Properties    Virtual ChemBook


 Aluminum, Al

Aluminum has the symbol Al.

From the Latin word "alumen" meaning "alum". The ancient Greeks and Romans used alum in medicine as an astringent, and in dyeing processes.

Atomic Number = 13, Atomic Mass = 26.98, 13 protons, 13 electrons, 14 neutrons.

First isolated by Hans Christian Oersted of Denmark in1825.

Most common use:

- cans and foils
- kitchen utensils
- Residential house siding
- Industrial applications where a strong, light, easily material is needed
- Wire for electricity, although its electrical conductivity is only about 60% that of copper per area of cross section, it is used in electrical transmission lines because of its lightness and price
- Alloys are of vital importance in the construction of modern aircraft and rockets

Physical Properties:

Aluminum is a shiny, silvery white colored metal that is light in weight and strong.
Th density of aluminum is 2.7 g/mL, which means the metal will sink in water, but is still relatively light.

Chemical Properties:

The surface of aluminum metal is covered with a thin layer of oxide that helps protect the metal from attack by air. So, normally, aluminum metal does not react with air. If the oxide layer is damaged, the aluminum metal is exposed to attack. Aluminum will burn in oxygen with a brilliant white flame to form the trioxide aluminum(III) oxide, Al2O3.

Aluminum metal is obtained from the pure hot molten Al2O3 by an electrolytic method. The electrolysis of the hot oxide in a carbon lined steel cell acting as the cathode with carbon anodes is the most common method.