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Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust after oxygen and silicon, yet it is a comparatively new metal that has been produced in commercial quantities for less than 100 years. It weighs about one-third as much as steel or copper, has excellent corrosion resistance, is highly maleable, ductile, and easily machined and cast. Aluminum is an important metal of widespread use and among metals is exceeded only by iron in world consumption. The metal is produced in electrolytic cells through the reduction of aluminum oxide (alumina), which is refined from impure hydrated alumina found in bauxite ore. This Bureau of Mines report presents comprehensive data on aluminum including strategic considerations, problems, technology trends and developments, reserves-resources, supply-demand relationship, economic factors and problems, operating factors and problems, and outlook to 2000.
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division