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Aluminium (or aluminum in American English and Canadian English) is a chemical element with the symbol Al and atomic number 13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common metals, at approximately one third that of steel. It has a great affinity towards oxygen, and forms a protective layer of oxide on the surface when exposed to air. Aluminium visually resembles silver, both in its color and in its great ability to reflect light. It is soft, non-magnetic and ductile. It has one stable isotope, 27Al; this isotope is very common, making aluminium the twelfth most common element in the Universe. The radioactivity of 26Al is used in radiodating.
Chemically, aluminium is a post-transition metal in the boron group; as is common for the group, aluminium forms compounds primarily in the +3 oxidation state. The aluminium cation Al3+ is small and highly charged; as such, it is polarizing, and bonds aluminium forms tend towards covalency. The strong affinity towards oxygen leads to aluminium’s common association with oxygen in nature in the form of oxides; for this reason, aluminium is found on Earth primarily in rocks in the crust, where it is the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon, rather than in the mantle, and virtually never as the free metal.
The discovery of aluminium was announced in 1825 by Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted. The first industrial production of aluminium was initiated by French chemist Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville in 1856. Aluminium became much more available to the public with the Hall–Héroult process developed independently by French engineer Paul Héroult and American engineer Charles Martin Hall in 1886, and the mass production of aluminium led to its extensive use in industry and everyday life. In World Wars I and II, aluminium was a crucial strategic resource for aviation. In 1954, aluminium became the most produced non-ferrous metal, surpassing copper. In the 21st century, most aluminium was consumed in transportation, engineering, construction, and packaging in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan.
Despite its prevalence in the environment, no living organism is known to use aluminium salts metabolically, but aluminium is well tolerated by plants and animals. Because of the abundance of these salts, the potential for a biological role for them is of continuing interest, and studies continue.
Aluminium is almost always alloyed, which markedly improves its mechanical properties, especially when tempered. For example, the common aluminium foils and beverage cans are alloys of 92% to 99% aluminium. The main alloying agents are copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and silicon (e.g., duralumin) with the levels of other metals in a few percent by weight. Aluminium, both wrought and cast, has been alloyed with: manganese, silicon, magnesium, copper and zinc among others. For example, the Kynal family of alloys was developed by the British chemical manufacturer Imperial Chemical Industries.
The major uses for aluminium metal are in:
- Transportation (automobiles, aircraft, trucks, railway cars, marine vessels, bicycles, spacecraft, etc.). Aluminium is used because of its low density;
- Packaging (cans, foil, frame, etc.). Aluminium is used because it is non-toxic (see below), non-adsorptive, and splinter-proof;
- Building and construction (windows, doors, siding, building wire, sheathing, roofing, etc.). Since steel is cheaper, aluminium is used when lightness, corrosion resistance, or engineering features are important;
- Electricity-related uses (conductor alloys, motors, and generators, transformers, capacitors, etc.). Aluminium is used because it is relatively cheap, highly conductive, has adequate mechanical strength and low density, and resists corrosion;
- A wide range of household items, from cooking utensils to furniture. Low density, good appearance, ease of fabrication, and durability are the key factors of aluminium usage;
- Machinery and equipment (processing equipment, pipes, tools). Aluminium is used because of its corrosion resistance, non-pyrophoricity, and mechanical strength.
- Portable computer cases. Currently rarely used without alloying, but aluminium can be recycled and clean aluminium has residual market value: for example, the used beverage can (UBC) material was used to encase the electronic components of MacBook Air laptop, Pixel 5 smartphone or Summit Lite smartwatch
What is the material for solar panel?
The material for solar frame is 6063 aluminum alloy,
AA 6063 is an aluminium alloy, with magnesium and silicon as the alloying elements. The standard controlling its composition is maintained by The Aluminum Association. It has generally good mechanical properties and is heat treatable and weldable. It is similar to the British aluminium alloy HE9.
6063 is the most common alloy used for aluminium extrusion. It allows complex shapes to be formed with very smooth surfaces fit for anodizing and so is popular for visible architectural applications such as window frames, door frames, roofs, and sign frames.
The alloy composition of 6063 is:
(% by weight)
(% by weight)
T5 temper 6063 has an ultimate tensile strength of at least 140 MPa (20,000 psi) in thicknesses up to 13 millimetres (0.5 in), and 130 MPa (19,000 psi) from 13 mm (0.5 in) thick, and yield strength of at least 97 MPa (14,000 psi) up to 13 millimetres (0.5 in) and 90 MPa (13,000 psi) from13 to 25 mm (0.5 to 1 in). It has elongation of 8%.
T6 temper 6063 has an ultimate tensile strength of at least 190 MPa (28,000 psi) and yield strength of at least 160 MPa (23,000 psi). In thicknesses of 3.15 millimetres (0.124 in) or less, it has elongation of 8% or more; in thicker sections, it has elongation of 10%.