How Is Aluminum Made?


Quick Answer

Aluminum occurs naturally in many conditions and forms, particularly in clays. However, the more well-known metallic compound can be made in other ways, including recycling. Aluminum is easily reproduced in this manner.

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How Is Aluminum Made?
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Full Answer

Aluminum has an atomic number of 13. It is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust. Much of the aluminum processed today comes from Australia where bauxite mines are prevalent and widely operated.

Looking through bauxite clay is the best way to find naturally occurring aluminum ready to be adapted for common consumer use as a metal.

The standard aluminum that Westerners know as the metal in cans and foil is a processed version of that same naturally occurring metal found in clays and rocks all around the world. Yet most of the cans and foil sold today are entirely recycled, usually several times. Aluminum is very lightweight and malleable and thus well suited for simple recycling. Most of the aluminum that we use today is "made" from itself, or from a past form of itself. This process cannot be done at home and requires industrial equipment and potentially dangerous methods.

The process is timely, and new aluminum recyclables generally aren't ready for at least sixty days.

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