The Birth And Adolescence Of Aluminium

Can you believe that the first existence of aluminium was only discovered 160 years ago? The first processed version of the metal came into production a century ago. In the world today, it is more commonly produces than nearly all other non-ferrous metals. This is done because it is one of the most commonly found elements in the world, with an astonishing 8% of the earth’s crust being made of it. The only reason it wasn’t discovered long before this was that it isn’t a natural metal. Deposits are found in the rocks, soil and even in plant life, but these are usually oxides or other compounds, and never the actual metal.
In Use Long Before Discovery
Long before the first fabrication company in Oman came into being, aluminium was being used in its compound form in pottery. The clay that was used to create pottery containing aluminium silicate, a basic compound in most soil deposits. The salts compounds of the metal were also using in Egypt and other Middle Eastern medical practices to create drugs and dyes. Even today, the salt of aluminium is found in toothpaste and stomach pills for its nutritional properties. Although it is a much cheaper material in the present day, it wasn’t always like this. Back in the day, it was one of the most expensive metals in the world. People who wanted to impress visitors would break out the aluminium cutlery and dishes instead of the gold ones, because at one point it was worth a lot more than gold.
The Growth of the Refining Process
In 1807, ages before a fabrication company could even think of refining ore, Sir Humphrey Davey pointed out that alum, a common salt, was actually a metal compound. He tried to extract it with electrolysis but failed. Less than 20 years later, H.C. Oersted successfully extracted small nodules of the metal by heating. By 1845, people were discovering the properties of the “new” metal in the game. Its weight caused a lot of excitement and led to even more research. This caused the discovery of a reduction process in 1854 that cost a lot but allowed aluminium production in small quantities. The first major breakthrough came in 1886, when the first smelting process was discovered.
Now, the prices incurred by aluminium when the production process was in its early stages was substantial indeed. However, the prices began to drop with the propagation of the smelting process. Soon, Karl Bayer invented an even better reduction process involving bauxite. This cut the original prices by 80% as production became very cost friendly. The rest, as they say, is history.

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