The process of Aluminium extraction from alumina or Aluminum oxide is considered to be a high point of the Industrial revolution in the modern world. It was not possible to obtain huge quantities of Aluminum in one go earlier when the ancient forms of extraction techniques had been in vogue. The metal was painstakingly being replaced by more reactive metals but all effort failed to produce a substantial amount in an inexpensive manner.
However, the world rejoiced when the latest accepted technique of using an Aluminum smelter was discovered courtesy a couple of chemist and an industrialist in 1886. Electrolysis started to be used when Charles Martin Hall found success on passing electricity directly into Alumina that had been dissolved in molten form of cryolite.
Unfortunately, the worries were not over yet as cryolite had to be mined from Greenland to be utilized for extracting Aluminum. The process has now been refined significantly by synthesizing the cryolite from fluorite, a mineral commonly available.
Aluminum smelting by using potlines, a vessel created by joining more than a 100 pots for receiving the metal is used in its purest form. The process is a 24X7 affair with the product going on endlessly. However, there is a specified time for retrieving it from the potlines and Aluminum smelters tend to do it once or twice every day. Most of the metal is made into fabricating ingots, however with only a little amount being added to the molds directly without any cleaning or alloy formations. These end up as foundry ingots. The foundries take over the process now and clean and mix it with other metals to obtain alloys meant for a wide variety of applications.
The resultant products are used to fashion it into automobile and domestic applications. The ingots find a new shape by fabrication though and the foundries turn it into casting aluminum by adding the molten metal to molds that are later used as automobile parts or conventional implements. Another application of ingots is to roll them out into very thin foils that have seen unparallel success in the packaging industry.
The metal is fashioned into different shapes by drawing it out through a dye via the unique process of Aluminum extrusion. The light weight metal is also continually hammered to strengthen it considerably. The increased strength can be used effectively for making the parts of aircrafts as well as automobiles that need to bear increased stress when the transportation is in motion.
That is not the end of applications of Smelted Aluminum though. It can be pulled into a wire or used to make machine parts of every conceivable size and purpose. The tiny nuts and bolts are frequently made out of Aluminum at present making the age old iron redundant.
'Dubai Aluminium (Dubal)' and 'Emirates Aluminum' of Abu Dhabi has joined hands to usher in a new era of non-petroleum based industries that is sure to capture the attention of the world soon. The huge facility is hoping to advance its exports to 2.4 million tonnes annually.