What comes to mind when you think about aluminum? For most of us, we tend to think about aluminum foil and other more basic uses of the metal. Aluminum, however, is an extremely versatile metal not to be overlooked. Check out these 14 interesting facts about aluminum you may or may not know.
14 Interesting Facts About Aluminum
1. Aluminum’s Royal History
Aluminum was once more precious than gold and silver. In fact, Napoleon III, the first president of the French Republic, served only his most honored dinner guests with aluminum plates and cutlery. The rest of his guests were served on gold and silver, which were considered lesser than aluminum at the time.
2. Aluminum is Only 150 Years Old
Aluminum was classified as a precious metal during the mid 1800s, making it one of the youngest commercial metals and has only been used for around 150 years. Compare this to copper, which has been around for more than 9,000 years, and aluminum is basically an infant. Aluminum has completely changed the construction world for the better, and over the past 150 years, it’s had a huge impact on the world around us.
3. Lightweight Material Option
Aluminum is strong but lightweight. It weighs just one third of the weight of steel, which is why you may want to consider it for your next construction project.
4. Aluminum is Used to Construct Planes
If you’ve ever flown on a Boeing-747, you were traveling within 147,000 pounds of aluminum! It just goes to show how versatile this metal really is.
5. Environmentally-Friendly Metal Option
Aluminum is one of the most “green” metals out there. In fact, it only takes five percent of the energy needed to extract new aluminum from ore, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you are looking to make more conscious choices within your business, choosing this metal is a good place to start.
6. Recycling of Aluminum Cans
Despite aluminum being recyclable, Live Science states that only around 55 percent of aluminum cans make it into the recycling bin each year. Do your part by ensuring you recycle your used aluminum in the future.
7. Creating Telescopes with Aluminum
Aluminum is highly reflective and is used for tubing in the manufacturing of telescopes. It’s another of the most interesting facts about aluminum and a great application of this lightweight material.
8. Unrivaled Barrier Properties
Aluminum offers unrivaled barrier properties and can block out moisture, bacteria, microorganisms, light, oxygen, and other gasses. For this reason, aluminum foil is used in the protective packaging of pharmaceuticals.
9. How Do You Spell Aluminum?
Aluminum is also referred to as aluminium. While the spelling differs, the words hold the same meaning. Especially in countries such as the UK, expect this spelling to be used over the one we commonly choose in the US.
10. Flexible Material
Aluminum is super flexible, making it resilient to the shock of impact from things like wind, which is why the metal is often used in the manufacturing of outdoor structures and cars. You’ll find it can withstand the elements very well, which is why it’s often used in construction projects today.
11. Aluminum Makes Up 8% of the Earth’s Crust
Aluminum is the most abundant metal and third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, making up around 8% of it. The only elements in the Earth’s crust that are more abundant than aluminum are silicon and oxygen. Because aluminum is so reactive, it’s never found in nature in its pure form. Instead, it is found as aluminum ore, which must be smelted.
12. Keep Recycling
About 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today thanks to recycling. One of the greatest things about aluminum is how recyclable it is! Recycling aluminum takes only 5% of the energy needed to extract new aluminum from ore. We highly recommend looking at recycling your used aluminum so that you can help to contribute to what is certainly one of the most interesting facts about aluminum.
13. Save Energy by Recycling Aluminum
Recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning for four hours. Another cool fact about aluminum cans is that it can take as little as two months for a soda can to return to grocery store shelves as a part of a new can after being recycled. That means the cola you drank in April may be a diet cola by June!
14. Versatile Commercial Metal
Before it was used in everything from soda cans to airplanes, aluminum was commonly used in fabric dying, hide tanning, fireproofing, and even first aid, as it was believed to help stop bleeding.
All of these interesting facts about aluminum just go to show how versatile this material is. You’ll find it can be used for a huge number of applications and will no doubt be an important material in some of your future projects.
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Quality Aluminum Products
In need of aluminum in the Tampa Bay area? Tampa Steel and Supply has you covered. Whether you’re looking for metal for a project big or small, we have something for you. Contact Tampa Steel & Supply today to learn about our extensive list of products and services or request a quote today.