What is Aluminium?

Aluminium is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the Earth's crust (after oxygen and silicon) and its most abundant metal. Aluminium makes up about 8% of the crust by mass, though it is less common in the mantle below.

The yield strength of pure aluminium is 7–11 MPa (Mega Pascals), while aluminium alloys have yield strengths ranging from 200 MPa to 600 MPa. Aluminium has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is easily machined, cast, welded, drawn and extruded.

Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and its ability to resist corrosion through the phenomenon of passivation. Aluminium and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and important in transportation and structures, such as light weight towers and masts. The oxides and sulphates are the most useful compounds of aluminium.

Corrosion resistance can be excellent because a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide forms when the bare metal is exposed to air, effectively preventing further oxidation, in a process termed passivation. The strongest aluminium alloys are less corrosion resistant due to galvanic reactions with alloyed copper. This corrosion resistance is greatly reduced by aqueous salts, particularly in the presence of dissimilar metals.

Aluminium is also a good thermal and electrical conductor, having 59% the conductivity of copper, both thermal and electrical, while having only 30% of copper's density. This is ideal in the light weight tower industry which allows to the tower to be earthed relatively easily.