You’d be surprised what we can turn aluminum into, from iPhones to rubies.
Aluminum is a soft, malleable, and lightweight metal made by removing the water from bauxite – a sedimentary rock found in abundance on the Earth’s crust. Due to its malleable and robust nature, aluminum can be reworked and used repeatedly in various applications.
Aluminum Cans, Sheets, & Pie Pans
Unsurprisingly, the most common household aluminum products get recycled into more aluminum cans, sheets, and pie pans. Some aspects of this metal, such as its affinity to oxygen, anti-corrosion, and ductility, mean its lifespan is virtually endless. It can be crushed, sanitized, and remade into new products continuously.
Aluminum in Construction
Its strength and resistance to corrosion make aluminum a premier material in buildings. Chances are the building you’re in right now uses it in either the door and window frames, heating and cooling ducts, roofs, siding, gutters, railings, or fences. Recycled aluminum has even been used in cement to increase the strength and durability of the mixture.
The first skyscraper to use aluminum extensively was the Empire State Building, in New York City, in 1931. Now, it’s almost impossible to build our modern-day towers without it – aluminum structures can weigh 65% less than steel ones but are just as strong. This makes them significantly easier to construct.
Appliances Made With Aluminum
Your kitchen is home to more aluminum than you know; fridges, dishwashers, microwaves, pots and pans, and more can be made with aluminum. It’s also often used in smartphones and laptops to give them weight and durability. In fact, an iPhone is about 24% aluminum alloy!
It’s also growing in popularity in plane and car parts. Engine radiators, wheels, bumpers, transmissions, and even doors and frames can be made of aluminum. Drivers love it for increased acceleration and braking, and designers love using it to create interesting vehicle shapes.
The Craziest Things Made With Aluminum
You might have known about some of the previous items on this list, but here are some less common uses that might surprise you.
Aluminum is an ingredient in several medicines, believe it or not! It’s combined with other substances and chemicals to create compounds that treat heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, acid reflux, ulcers, and gas. It’s even used in Bentoquatam – a topical medication used to treat poison ivy reactions.
Space Exploration Gear
For the same reasons airplane and car manufacturers love aluminum, NASA and other space organizations do too. Curiosity, the space rover on Mars, is primarily made out of aluminum alloys. This project already costs NASA 2.5 billion dollars – but wouldn’t have been possible due to price if it wasn’t for cost-effective recycled aluminum!
Explosive and Fireworks
Very fine aluminum powder is the primary component in the pyrotechnic industry for creating flash powder. Aluminum is used to create all silver and white fireworks and sparklers, and it’s what gives them their bang.
Makeup and Paint
Aluminum is considered non-toxic and safe for human exposure. That’s not to say you should start eating the aluminum foil in your kitchen, but it is why it can be combined with hydrogen and oxygen to make aluminum hydroxide. This creates a flaky substance that deepens the colours and adds shine to paints and powdered makeup products.
Rubies and Sapphires
Both natural and lab-made rubies and sapphires are made of aluminum oxide. This substance combines pure aluminum with oxygen. It is trace amounts of other minerals that slightly disturb the aluminum oxide structure and change the colour of the gemstones.
We strongly recommend that every household and company continue recycling their aluminum products. Both two ram balers and closed-door balers are excellent choices for operations needing to pack and ship large amounts. Who knows – maybe the next drink can you recycle will become part of a spaceship someday!