Key facts

  • Aluminium was discovered in 1825 by the Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted.
  • The term originates from the Latin word alumen (alum).
  • Aluminium is the third most abundant element and the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust.
  • In 1827, the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler managed to extract pure aluminium powder that was more expensive than gold at the time.
  • The aluminium form we know today has been extracted since as late as the mid-1800s.
  • In addition to the primary form of extracting aluminium from bauxite, plenty of aluminium is also extracted from recycled aluminium waste.
  • Aluminium is easy to form and highly manageable.

Prominent aluminium properties:

  • It is a white-silver, shining metal.
  • It is a non-magnetic and soft metal.
  • As opposed to the majority of metals, aluminium has low density – it is light.
  • It conducts heat and electricity well.
  • It is malleable, and can be rolled out into very thin foils.
  • It is non-toxic.
  • It is resistant to many acids, but not to sea water and lye.
  • If it is pure, it is not very strong; its mechanical strength is enhanced by casting it with other metals.