How aluminium is produced
The pure form of aluminium does not naturally occur in nature, so remained largely unknown until as recently as 200 years ago. Creating aluminium using electricity was first developed in 1886 and is still used to this day.
The aluminium production process starts with the mining of bauxites, an aluminium rich mineral in in the form of aluminium hydroxide. About 90% of global bauxite supply is found in tropical areas.
Bauxite is crushed, dried and ground in special mills where it is mixed with a small amount of water. This process produces a thick paste that is collected in special containers and heated with steam to remove most of the silicon present in bauxites.
At an aluminium smelter, alumina is poured into special reduction cells with molten cryolite at 950℃. Electric currents are then induced in the mixture at 400 kA or above; this current breaks the bond between the aluminium and oxygen atoms resulting in liquid aluminium settling at the bottom of the reduction cell.
Primary aluminium is cast into ingots and shipped to customers or used in the production of aluminium
alloys for various purposes.
The process where the aluminium is shaped to its required form. This process is used for making the vast majority of aluminium products from spectacle frames, telephone bodies, aeroplane fuselages or spaceship bodies.
Unlike iron, aluminium is corrosion resistant so it can be remelted and reused an infinite number of times. The added benefit is that recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to make the same amount of primary aluminium.