Forming Aluminum Oxide

Author:Shanghai Yika Addtime:2016/10/17

The pure aluminum can then be collected as a gray powder, which must be melted to produce the shiny aluminum that is most familiar to consumers.

After Wöhler's work, it was possible, but very expensive, to produce pure aluminum. It cost so much that there were almost no commercial uses for it.

A number of chemists realized how important it was to find a less expensive way to prepare aluminum. In 1883, Russian chemist V. A. Tyurin found a less expensive way to produce pure aluminum. He passed an electric current through a molten (melted) mixture of cryolite and sodium chloride (ordinary table salt). Cryolite is sodium aluminum fluoride (Na3AlF6). Over the next few years, similar methods for isolating aluminum were developed by other chemists in Europe.

The most dramatic breakthrough in aluminum research was made by a college student in the United States. Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914) was a student at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, when he became interested in the problem of producing aluminum. Using homemade equipment in a woodshed behind his home, he achieved success by passing an electric current through a molten mixture of cryolite and aluminum oxide (Al2O3).


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