Uses of Aluminium - Environmental Chemistry - Chemistry
Learn the basics about aluminium - anodising it and the uses of aluminium, when learning about metals and their reactivity as a part of environmental chemistry.
Aluminium is a very reactive metal. It's protective layer of oxide is very important.
Aluminium is used for cooking utensils, cooking foil, drink cans, window frames, or aeroplanes. It is a shiny metal that does not corrode. It is unreactive because of it's hard thin layer of oxide that forms over all exposed surfaces. This layer is so tight that water and air cannot get under it. If it gets scratched a new thin oxide layer immediately forms stopping further corrosion.
Aluminium has many useful properties, which is why it is so widely used. Some of these are it is abundant, it is a metal and so is strong, it has a low density, it conducts electricity and it does not corrode.
Shiny aluminium is made of anodised aluminium. The anodising process builds up the protective oxide layer by making the aluminium the anode in an electrolytic cell containing an acid.
The new layer is very hard, inert and can absorb dyes to colour the film, giving the bright shiny colours.