Aluminium is a chemical element with symbol Al and atomic number 13. Aluminium has a low density and is therefore used in transportation such as cars, bikes, boats and airplanes. It is also rust resistant, and because of this is used in element prone areas such as windows, doors and roofing. Finally, aluminium is used in electrical items i.e. motors, because of its’ high conductivity. This is an element we are exposed to every day, so we have answered some common questions about it below.
Does Aluminium Rust?
No – Aluminium does not rust, however it is prone to ‘corrosion’ which is a chemical reaction causing the surface of the metal to oxidise. It can look similar to rust, however more often than not it is white in colour. Corrosion can be prevented through a treatment called ‘anodisation’ where aluminium is passed through an electrically charged, acidic liquid solution made up of chemicals that alter the aluminium’s surface texture. This creates a barrier between the aluminium and the outside elements therefore protecting it.
Can Aluminium be Recycled?
Yes – Aluminium is 100% recyclable. In Australia alone, over two Billion aluminium cans are recycled every year. Approximately 10% of Australia’s electricity use is from making brand new aluminium. For every one aluminium can you recycle, you can save enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours. Place your aluminium cans in your recycle bin, or use the new ‘Return and Earn‘ depots located around NSW. Alternatively, aluminium can be recycled at some local waste collection depots. You can find out what your local collection point accepts here.
Can Aluminium be anodised?
Yes – Anodisation is where materials are coated with an oxide layer to prevent rust. Anodising Aluminium protects it from corrosion.
Can Aluminium Conduct Electricity?
Yes – All metals are conductors of electricity, however to varying degrees. Aluminium has a conductive power of approximately 61%. This is why it is used in electronics.
Can Aluminium Melt?
Yes– Aluminium can melt at approximately 660 degrees celcius.