Early scientists thought that an undiscovered metal element was probably present in alum around 1787.
The problem was how to get the metal out of the compound and it was not until 1825 that a Danish scientist invented the process to make small amounts of pure aluminium.
The atomic number of this metal is 13 and it’s atomic weight is 26.98 with a melting point of 660° centigrade which is approximately 1220 fahrenheit.
This rust free metal will boil at 2519°C or 4566°F, it is of course solid at room temperature and the density of this versatile metal is 2.7 g/cm³.
The word aluminium derives from the Latin alumen and it’s the most common metal in Earth’s epidermis . Unfortunately this metal is never found by itself, it is always combined along with other elements in the form of compounds e.g.alum or metal oxide. Just over 8% of the earth’s outer layer is made up of this metal element!
Nowadays metal alloys and pure aluminium are utilized in many different areas of industry and commerce; kitchen products, drinking cans, bacon foil, plane parts, buildings and of course garden furniture.
This robust metal began to be popular for construction in the 1920s. This initially focused on decorative detailing e.g. the art deco movement, but by the 1930s interior parts and major metal structures were being used in the construction industry e.g. Empire State building.
This shiny metal is one of the easiest elements to recycle and up to 85% of it used today is recycled. This metal, when melted, separates very easily and this makes recycling very cost-effective.
Aluminium History – Landmark Facts
Empire State Building – aluminium is used in construction for the first time in major quantities 1930.
Leadership environment energy & design – a metal that now qualifies for the LEED standard.
Aluminium garden furniture production starts in the 1950s, initially in America, this quickly spreads across the pond to Europe because the metal is strong and will not rust.
The aluminium that was used in the Empire State building nearly 90 years later is still in very good condition and needs no maintenance. In fact the windows were originally made of steel which of course have deteriorated, they have just been replaced with new aluminium frames!
When this metal was finally isolated it was very expensive indeed, but by the improvement of the extraction process in America, it became available for widespread cost-effective use by 1920.
The modern skyscraper would be impossible to build without the existence of our favourite metal, this is because aluminium weighs 60% less than metals like steel but has the same strength.
If aluminium is good enough for the Empire State Building, it’s got to be okay for metal garden furniture!