Did you know that aluminum makes up about 8% of the weight of the solid surface of the earth? As a metal, however, aluminum is so chemically reactive that it is usually found in minerals rather than by itself. Aluminum has many properties that make it ideal for multiple types of industry. It can resist corrosion, has a very low density, is malleable, ductile, and easily available. Wondering how it gets from being in the ground to being part of a spaceship, or wrapping your food? Here are three things you should know about aluminum production and metal suppliers.
1. Aluminum mining
Although aluminum is very abundant, as mentioned, it needs to be extracted from other minerals in order to be used. Mining aluminum usually involves digging up bauxite, which is then purified using the Bayer process. The Bayer process allows aluminum to be separated from the other materials, leaving behind purified aluminum oxide. This solution is then turned into manufactured aluminum via the Hall Heroult Method. At this point the aluminum is then sent to different companies, such as aluminum tubing suppliers.
2. Recycling Aluminum
About 75% of soda cans are made out of aluminum, so there is a lot of recycling of this metal around the world from both home and industrial applications. Who takes care of the recycled aluminum? Secondary aluminum smelters. These companies use a semifabricating process to process a variety of scrap. The difference between smelters and remelters is that remelters simply melt down the aluminum, while smelters have to separate it out to purify it.
3. Aluminum Extrusion
Extrusion is the creation of aluminum with a cross sectional profile. In other words, it allows for hollow cavities within the separate parts. Basically, hot aluminum is thrust through a die, or cut out shape. The aluminum then assumes this shape. This allows for the creation of complex cross sections in less time, as well as a great surface finish for finished parts. There are many aluminum extrusion suppliers located all around the world.