The key properties of aluminium are its light weight coupled with high strength, good conductivity of electricity and heat, particularly good corrosion resistance, including resistance to water and chemicals, and excellent recyclability. Aluminium does not pose a risk to health and it occurs naturally as a compound in combination with various other elements. There are even traces of aluminium in baking powder, cheese slices or toothpaste. Photo credit: PREFA / croce & wir Fotostudio
Present in nature and of service to mankind
Aluminium is a universal material with many good properties. As a metal it stands for useful, durable, reliable and safe products and is used in the widest possible range of shapes and functions: in the transport sector, building and construction, the packaging sector, mechanical engineering and plant manufacturing, the design, household and leisure fields, and electrical engineering.
The element aluminium was discovered in 1825 by the Dane Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851), by breaking down aluminous earth. The name ‘aluminium’ is derived from the Latin word for alum, namely alumen. This is an aluminium compound (aluminium potassium sulphate) that was already used in antiquity to tan leather and in medicine as a styptic preparation. Friedrich Wöhler (1800-1882) produced pure aluminium in 1827 by reducing aluminium chloride with potassium.
Characteristic values for aluminium
|Relative atomic mass||26,9815386|
|Melting point||660,37 °C|
|Boiling point||2519 °C|
|Atomic radius||143,2 pm|
|Natural occurrence||[Al-27 100%|