Aluminum is a common metal element on earth. However, it was not until the 19th century that humans mastered the technology of separating and producing pure aluminum. In today’s world, we can see aluminum products everywhere in the home and in the workplace. If you want to find a synonym for the industrial consumer society formed in the middle of the 20th century, the “Aluminum Age” is well deserved.
Star of the aluminum age
What can be combined with the technical, commercial, social, artistic, and economic achievements of the “Aluminum Age”? I have considered many different products. Is it an airplane? Because most parts of the aircraft are made of aluminum. Or is it a computer? The use of aluminum is also used in the manufacture of computers. However, after thinking twice, there is one thing that is a good interpretation of our consumer society and lifestyle. This is the aluminum can used to pack beer and soda.
First of all, the aluminum can is almost made of pure aluminum, in which only a small amount of other metals are added.
Second, it is the most common mass-produced product in the technology industry today. The annual production of the United States alone has reached 100 billion (equivalent to one per American per day).
Third, its production process is a miracle of modern automated production.
Fourth, the functional design and marketing of the items packaged in aluminum cans perfectly interprets our consumer lifestyle.
If the Earth is suddenly destroyed by an asteroid, there is only one aluminum can left, and the aliens on the alien spacecraft can basically rebuild our technology, culture, physical physiology and biochemical technology. Aluminum cans have been the ultimate representative of our one-off culture, and now, it has become a pioneer in resource recovery, and has become a symbol of resources that are related to the health of the earth and the protection of benefits.
Price super gold
Although aluminum is the most common metal element on earth, it rarely exists in the form of natural aluminum. In the early 19th century, British chemist and inventor Humphrey David (1778 – 1829) discovered that the metal foundation of alum was aluminum, so he used the alum alum, which is called aluminum, to show the two. Relationship between. This is the first time that humans have discovered aluminum. The Danish chemist Hans Christian Oates (1771-1851) was one of the first scientists to successfully produce aluminum in the first half of the 19th century. The various methods of extracting aluminum at that time were time consuming, costly, and extremely low in output, so aluminum was seen as an expensive new thing, and it was rarely used.
Aluminum was once rarer and more expensive than gold, and was proudly presented at international exhibitions around the world. The builders of the Washington Monument also decided to install the largest aluminum ingot at the top of the monument as a lightning rod. This aluminum ingot weighs 285 kg (about 6 pounds). The French emperor Napoleon III (1808 – 1873) was also interested in the potential military value and scarcity of this new type of light metal. At the royal banquet, the average guest can only use gold tableware, and the most distinguished guests use aluminum tableware. I think that the jars, plates and other utensils made of aluminum today are the cheapest. Nowadays, the guests are also served with aluminum utensils. I think the guests will be very angry.
In 1886, the two inventors of the United States, Charles Hall (1863 – 1914) and the Frenchman Paul Eru (18631914) – respectively discovered the same commercial method of aluminum production. This method, known as Haller’s electrolysis, produces aluminum by electrolysis of alumina in a cryolite solution. This method reduced production costs to one-hundredth of the previous one and was quickly used for mass production, making aluminum widely used in industrial and household applications. Aluminum is easy to process, durable, corrosion resistant and lighter than steel. One of its earliest applications is in the field of architecture. This is because aluminum has a superior weight to strength ratio and is a very attractive material in this field. The discovery of Hall and Eru and the commercial development of aluminum are not accidental. Since the aluminum production process requires sufficient power supply, this is precisely the era of electrification in Europe and the United States.
Airplanes, cars and trains
In today’s world, aluminum is used in a wide range of applications. In the family, almost every kitchen has aluminum foil for cooking or packing the rest of the food. In the field of construction, aluminum has also been widely used. Modernly built houses or apartment buildings, the door frames and window frames may be made of aluminum. Aluminum is lighter in weight and is therefore an ideal choice in areas such as aircraft design where weight is important. Although all-aluminum vehicles appeared as early as the middle of the 20th century, most of the cars were made of steel because the production cost of aluminum was higher than that of steel. However, as the price of crude oil has soared since the end of the 20th century, the advantages of aluminum body and parts to reduce the weight of the car body have made aluminum’s wide application in the automotive industry more commercially promising. In 1999, the world’s first all-aluminum car was off the assembly line in Audi, Germany. Although science has brought us a lot of new materials, the rich application performance of aluminum means that we will still live in the aluminum era in the coming decades.
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