Although aluminum is the most common metal in Earth's rocks, scientists did not discover it until the early 19th century. Even then, it took another 80 years to figure out how to use the bauxite ore to extract large amounts of this pure element. In addition, it can be found in other minerals such as variscite. Today, aluminum is often recycled because producing it again requires 15 times more energy. The metal forms a strong, shiny sheet when rolled flat, and is useful for storing food. It is also used in fire protection suits because it reflects heat. Aluminum is the most widely used metal after iron. It is very light compared to iron alloy steel and almost as strong. Being also a good electrical conductor, it is used in overhead cables. Reinforced aluminum alloys are used to make parts of some aircraft.

Summary of properties (Al)

Atomic weight26.9815384(3)
Discoverer (year)Oersted, Hans Christian (1825)
Natural formmetallic solid (face centered cubic)
Electron configuration[Ne] 3s2 3p1
Melting point (ºC)660
Boiling point (ºC)2467
Abundance in earth's crust (ppm)82300
Isotope (abundance)27Al (100))
Density g/cm32.7
Van der Waals radius (pm)184
Covalent radius (pm)124
Electronegativity (Pauling)1.61
Vaporization enthalpy (kJ/mol)294.00
Enthalpy of fusion (kJ/mol)10.71
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm0.90
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm2.370
Oxidation state+3
Electron affinity (eV)0.43
1st Ionization potential (eV)5.9858

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.