Aluminium: uses

The following uses for aluminium are gathered from a number of sources as well as from anecdotal comments. I'd be delighted to receive corrections as well as additional referenced uses (please use the feedback mechanism to add uses).

  • cans and foils
  • kitchen utensils
  • outside building decoration
  • industrial applications where a strong, light, easily constructed material is needed
  • although its electrical conductivity is only about 60% that of copper per area of cross section, it is used in electrical transmission lines because of its lightness and price
  • alloys are of vital importance in the construction of modern aircraft and rockets
  • aluminium, evaporated in a vacuum, forms a highly reflective coating for both visible light and radiant heat. These coatings soon form a thin layer of the protective oxide and do not deteriorate as do silver coatings. These coatings are used for telescope mirrors, decorative paper, packages, toys, and in many other uses
  • the oxide, alumina, occurs naturally as ruby, sapphire, corundum, and emery, and is used in glass making and refractories. Synthetic ruby and sapphire are used in the construction of lasers

The analysis of base metals in industry is naturally important and ideally achieved in the field with robust equipment. Portable metals analyser exist that give rapid semi-quantitative analysis and grade identification of metals on-site. For instance, charge coupled device (CCD) technology drives portable emission spectrometers to measure the whole spectrum necessary for the analysis of all the common metals including aluminium, as well as other important components such as carbon.

portable CCD emission spectrometer for the analysis of aluminium
A portable CCD emission spectrometer for the analysis of aluminium and other metals. Image credit: Arun Technology.

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