Information About Aluminum In NJ

By Marci Glover

Aluminium refers to a chemical element under the boron group. It has a chemical symbol of Al with 13 as the atomic number. It is also spelt as aluminium. Physical characteristics include softness, considerable ductility, and silvery color. Aluminium comes third in terms of abundance in the crust of the earth after silicon and oxygen gas. Aluminum in NJ occurs in a mixed form and not the native form because of high reactivity.

Under natural situations, the ore exists as a mixture of more than 270 other minerals. Bauxite is the primary ore. The most significant characteristics of the substance are low density and resistance to corrosion. Low density is useful in the construction of aircrafts and structural components. Rusting does not occur in the metal rendering it useful in several industries.

There are numerous ways in which aluminium is produced in NJ. The main one is called the Hall-Heroult process. Others include indirect carbothermic reduction and the electrolytic smelting of alumina. Although still under development, indirect carbothermic reduction is proving to be very effective. It generates less Carbon (II) Oxide gas while consuming less power when compared to Hall-Heroult process.

Hall-Heroult process involves dissolving alumina into molten cryolite with calcium fluoride. When aluminium dissolves in the electrolyte, it dissociates releasing its ions to move around freely. The resultant compound is then reduced electrolytically into aluminium. The reduction process takes place within the temperature range of 950 and 980 degrees Celsius. Aluminium ions are reduced allowing the metal to sink at the bottom of the compound. The Hall-Heroult process was a replacement for the Wohler process, which used potassium to reduce anhydrous aluminum chloride.

This method very energy inefficient, but its application cannot be dropped because it is the most ecological and economical. The metal is able to be recycled up to 100 hundred without losing its properties. Increased manufacture of beverage cans in late 60s gave recycling a lot of importance in NJ. When recycling, scrap is melted to form an ash-like substance called dross and the pure form of the metal. With further refinement dross can be converted into the substances too.

Recycled metal is called secondary aluminum although its properties and applications are the same as those of the primary form. To enhance mechanical properties of this metal, it is mostly used in form of an alloy with other materials. The alloys may comprise of silicon, zinc, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Major applications include manufacture of transport vessels like trucks, railway cars, aircrafts and marine vessels.

Other uses are in industries such as packaging, lighting, engineering, construction, household items, electronics, power distribution, and insulation among others. Reacting the substance with hydrochloric acid or sodium hydroxide produces hydrogen gas. Powdered form is a vital additive in thermite, solid rocket fuels, and certain paints. Some states have and continue issuing currencies made from aluminium or its alloys.

Research has not revealed any severe health concerns due to consumption of small doses of the element. If consumed in enormous amounts however, it causes neurotoxicity and other disorders of the brain and the nervous system. Some individual are allergic and might experience contact dermatitis, vomiting, and digestive disorders when they make contact with it.

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