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• ALUMINIUM COMPOUNDS HAVE PROVEN USEFUL FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

AROUND 5000 B.C. , PERSIAN POTTERS MADE THEIR STRONGEST VESSELS FROM
CLAY THAT CONTAINED ALUMINIUM OXIDE. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS AND
BABYLONIANS USED ALUMINIUM COMPOUNDS IN FABRIC DYES, COSMETICS,
AND MEDICINES. HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE EARLY NINETEENTH
CENTURY THAT ALUMINIUM WAS IDENTIFIED AS AN ELEMENT AND ISOLATED AS
A PURE METAL. THE DIFFICULTY OF EXTRACTING ALUMINIUM FROM ITS
NATURAL COMPOUNDS KEPT THE METAL RARE FOR MANY YEARS; HALF A
CENTURY AFTER ITS DISCOVERY, IT WAS STILL AS RARE AND VALUABLE AS
SILVER.
• ALUMINIUM ACCOUNT FOR 7.5% OF THE EARTH’S CRUST AND IS THE MOST
ABUNDANT METAL ON EARTH
• ALUMINIUM METAL IS TOO REACTIVE CHEMICALLY TO OCCUR NATIVELY.
INSTEAD, IT IS FOUND COMBINED IN OVER 270 DIFFERENT MINERALS.
ALUMINIUM PROCESSING
• ALUMINIUM IS MOST COMMONLY FOUND IN BAUXITE IN A HYDRATED ALUMINIUM OXIDE FORM
• BAUXITE IS REDDISH CLAY ROCK WHICH IS USUALLY COMPOSED OF
ALUMNIA AL2O3 AMPHOTERIC
SILICA SI02 ACIDIC
IRON OXIDE FE203 BASIC
TITANIUM DIOXIDE TI02
ALUMINIUM PROCESSING

• THE PRODUCTION OF ALUMINIUM OCCURS IN TWO STAGES:


PURIFICATION OF THE ALUMINA
ELECTROLYSIS OF THE ALUMINA
PURIFICATION

95% OF THE ALUMINA EXTRACTED FROM BAUXITE IS DONE THROUGH THE BAYER’S PROCESS:
THE BAUXITE IS FIRST CRUSHED IN A GRINDER
THE DUST IS THEN TREATED WITH 10% SODIUM HYDROXIDE @140-240 AND 35 ATM PRESSURE WHICH
HELPS TO KEEP THE WATER IN THE SODIUM HYDROXIDE
THE SLURRY IS THEN LEFT IN A DIGESTER FOR 2-8HRS
• THE SLURRY IS THEM PUMPED INTO SETTLING TANKS MOST OF THE IMPURITIES ARE INSOLUBLE IN THE
SODIUM HYDROXIDE AND THUS ARE LEFT TO SETTLE
• AFTER SETTLING OUT THE REMAINING LIQUID IS PASS THROUGH A SERIES OF FILTERS TO REMOVE ANY
SMALL PARTICLES OF IMPURITY
• THE FILTERED LIQUID IS THEN PUT INTO PRECIPITATION TANKS WHICH ARE SEEDED WITH PURE ALUMINA
WHICH PROVIDES A NUCLEATING CORE FOR THE CRYSTALS TO FORM AROUND THE TEMPERATURE IS
LOWERED AND THE SOLUTION IS AGITATED WITH CO2 PRECIPITATION BEGINS TO OCCUR
• THE PRECIPITATE SETTLES TO THE BOTTOM AND IS COLLECTED
• THE PURE ALUMINA IS THEN HEATED A ROTARY KILN TO REMOVE ANY WATER (1000 OC)
EQUATIONS
• Al2O3 + NaOH  2NaAlO2 + H2O
• AL2O3 + 2NAOH + 3H2O  2[AL(OH)4]-
• 2NaAlO2 + 4H2O  Al2O3.3H2O + 2NaOH
• 2[AL(OH)4]- + CO2  2AL(OH)3 + CO32- + H2O
• Al2O3.3H2O  Al2O3 + 3H2O
• 2AL(OH)3  AL2O3 + 3H2O
ELECTROLYSIS HALL HERAULT PROCESS

• THE PURIFIED ALUMINA IS THEN DISSOLVED IN MOLTEN CRYOLITE (NA3ALF6] THIS HELPS TO DISSOLVE
THE ALUMINA FOR ELECTROLYSIS AS WELL AS CARRY DOWN THE MELTING TEMPERATURE
• THE MOLTEN MIXTURE IS THEN PLACED INTO THE ALUMINIUM SMELTING POT
REACTIONS
• CATHODE
• AL3+ + 3E-  AL
• ANODE
• 2O2-  O2 + 4E-
•UNDER THE CONDITIONS THE OXYGEN OFTEN REACTS WITH THE CARBON TO FORM CO2 SO THE
ELECTRODES MUST BE CHANGED OFTEN
PROPERTIES OF ALUMINIUM
• HAS A LOW DENSITY;
• IS STRONG WHEN ALLOYED;
• IS A GOOD CONDUCTOR OF ELECTRICITY AND HEAT
• IS A GOOD REFLECTOR
• RESISTS CORROSION BECAUSE OF THE STRONG THIN LAYER OF ALUMINIUM OXIDE
ON ITS SURFACE. THIS LAYER CAN BE STRENGTHENED FURTHER BY ANODISING THE
ALUMINIUM.
• DUCTILE
USES OF ALUMINIUM
• PACKAGING : CANS FOIL WRAPPERS
• COOKWARE
• USE AS BUILDING MATERIAL
• USED IN AIRPLANE FABRICATION AS WELL AS OTHER VEHICLES
• USED TO CONDUCT ELECTRICITY
• CONSUMER GOOD E.G. PHONE CHASSIS
ALUMINIUM & THE ENVIRONMENT

• SEE CAPE CHEMISTRY UNIT 2 BK PG 133 HAS GOOD EXPLANATION


FURTHER READS

• HTTP://WWW.ALUMINUM-PRODUCTION.COM/BATH_CHEMISTRY.HTML (EXPLAINATION OF THE


CRYOLITE BATH AND WHY FLUORINE IS PRODUCED ]
• HTTPS://WWW.CHEMGUIDE.CO.UK/INORGANIC/EXTRACTION/ALUMINIUM.HTML [GREAT READ]
• HTTPS://CHEMISTRY.STACKEXCHANGE.COM/QUESTIONS/6774/WHY-DO-THEY-USE-GRAPHITE-ANODES-
IN-THE-HALL-HEROULT-PROCESS [EXPLAINS WHY GRAPHITE ELECTRODES ARE USED]