Aluminum By Kelly DiGeronimo and Morgan Plessner
Basic Facts about Aluminum • 2nd most abundant metallic element in the Earth’s crust after Silicon • Characteristics- light, malleable, ductile, resistant of corrosion, and durable • Aluminum recovery from scrap is an important and vital part of the Al industry (Mechanics find it easy to work with as well as packing industries who use it to produce cans)
A Little History • 1971-74 Price Controls • 1973-75 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (oil embargo sharp recession) • 1986-88 Worldwide supply shortages • 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union • In the late 1800's and early 1900's, aluminum was actually considered a scarce and expensive material-the tip of the Washington Memorial was covered in aluminum as it was a rare metal at the time. • Since then, aluminum has become drastically less expensive to produce through the new process of electrolysis, and its cultural significance has changed entirely. • Now aluminum is one of the cheapest metals, priced below even lead, copper, nickel, and tin. It would no longer receive a place of honor, but is instead used many times in the average American's daily life, in the kitchen, through technology, in vehicles, and in many other places.
Aluminum around the World • 36% of exportation of Aluminum comes from Australia • Australia, Germany, and China account for 20% of consumption • The United States, China, Japan, and Germany account for 50% of consumption
Environmental Effects • 400 years to break down in land fills • 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to mine for new aluminum • Can be recycled almost indefinitely because of its chemical make-up • Recycling produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution than mining for new ore does • Large amounts of Al are harmful to humans but the only humans usually exposed to a high concentration are miners
Health Complications • The water-soluble form of Al is the most harmful to these miners • However, sometimes Al ions mix with other ions to form substances harmful to people during their everyday lives. (ex. Aluminum Chlorine) • The affects of this consist of: Damage to the central nervous system • - Dementia • - Loss of memory • - Listlessness • - Severe trembling
Social Effects • Organizations such as Aluminum Industrial Partnership (VAIP) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pollution Prevention program have been formed to promote awareness of the benefits recycling Al • Economically, recycling Aluminum is beneficial because it is much cheaper to recycle compared to mining for new ore • When Al cans are recycled, money can be put towards community services
Works Cited • Callahan, Rob. "Harmful Effects of Not Recycling Aluminum." eHow Health. Web. 26 Sep 2012. <http://www.ehow.com/list_6156495_harmful-effects-not-recycling-aluminum.html>. • West, Larry. "The Benefits of Aluminum Recycling: Why Recycle Aluminum." About.com Environmental Issues. Web. 26 Sep 2012. • "Aluminum." Water Treatment Solutions- Lenntech. Lenntech. Web. 26 Sep 2012. <http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/al.htm>.
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