11 FACTS ABOUT ALUMINIUM VS ALUMINUM

The metal aluminum is spelled in two different ways in the English language. Aluminum is used widely in North America, while aluminium is accepted everywhere else in the world. The history of this difference dates back to the 19th century when a scientist renamed the element to match other elements in the periodic table (potassium, sodium, etc.)

Aluminum is one of the most abundant and rich metals found on Earth. It is an excellent conductor of heat and provides multiple benefits due to its shiny, smooth surface. It’s much lighter and more reactive than iron and has a wide range of applications. Aluminum is used extensively in industrial production and design processes to produce metal components for numerous industries.

Is there a difference between “Aluminium” and “Aluminum”? 

No, there is no difference between the Aluminium and Aluminum.

As far as the element is concerned, there is no difference. The only thing that makes these two words distinct is how they are spelled. In British English, this thirteenth element of the Periodic Table is called Aluminium. Whereas, Aluminum is the preferred spelling in American and Canadian English. It is no wonder, as there are more than 4000 words in the English language that are spelled differently between Europe, America, and the rest of the English speaking world.

Aluminum metal from the periodic table

Aluminum is Earth’s most commonly found element. Its name origins from the word alumina which means the oxide of Aluminum. With the passage of time, it changed names from alum to alumium. The name alumium was given by Sir Humphry Davy, who first discovered the element back in the Nineteenth Century. Soon after its discovery, the previous names changed into Aluminum which is used widely around the world even today.

Why is aluminium often misspelled as aluminum?

Aluminium or Aluminum is a chemical element found most abundantly in Earth. Basically, it is a metallic substance that is lightweight, non-magnetic, and an excellent conductor of heat, commonly known as foil.

The reason people aluminium differently is because of its history. In the nineteenth century, Sir Humphry Davy discovered this thirteenth element of the periodic table, which we now know as aluminium/aluminum, and named it alumium. That term had its origin in the early name of potassium aluminum sulfate also called Alum, meaning bitter salt.

After some time, Sir Davy changed the name to aluminum. Finally, he changed the name into aluminium in order to make it sound similar to other metals such as sodium, potassium, etc. So basically, none of them is misspelled, it’s just how it was formed initially and how it is now used in different regions.

In which countries are the two versions “aluminium” and “aluminum” most used? Which is the more popular option?

With the passage of time, there had been multiple variations in scientific terminology, the version “Aluminum” was adopted widely in American. Whereas aluminium is used in other parts of the English speaking world. Both are equally popular, but aluminium is used in much larger volumes because of its acceptance in all areas except North America.

The “clash” between the two versions began when the metal aluminium began being used in household items. This is when it was used in everyday language instead of just being limited to scientists. The “ium” usage was the commonly preferred version in Britain and elsewhere in the world.

The IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially accepted aluminium as the accepted spelling in 1990. However, for the Americans, the everyday use of the metal is still referred to in writing as “aluminum”. Today, we can use both versions interchangeably and mean the same thing!

How vastly is the metal aluminum used in China? What about other countries?

The country most famous for aluminium/aluminum consumption in the world is China. Not only is China the prime user of aluminum, but also the largest producer of this element. China consumes about half of the amount of aluminum produced worldwide. According to a survey conducted in 2013, China consumed about 45% of the total aluminum produced in the world.

Aluminum metal rods

After China, the top consumer of “aluminium” or “aluminum,” are the remaining Asian countries that account for 20% of the total metal usage. Europe holds the third position in aluminum usage for transport and industrial purposes. According to a Commodities Control report, European countries utilize 15%, while America, 11% of total aluminum produced globally. The total consumption of the rest of all the countries is less than 10%.

According to reports of this year, Germany is a far greater user of aluminum substances, followed by Turkey and Italy. In 2018, aluminum’s global utilization recorded about 60 million metric tons due to high industrialization among the major aluminum consumer countries.

Is aluminum metal or nonmetal? Why?

Aluminum is a metal; in fact, one of the most richly found metals in Earth’s crust. Elements that are in a solid-state at room temperature, good conductors of heat and electricity, and have a shiny appearance are metals. Apart from that, metals are always ductile (can be drawn into wires) and malleable (can be reshaped without breaking).

Nonmetals, however, are mostly poor conductors of heat and electricity. They are not ductile and malleable, and many of them are gases at room temperature. Then come the metalloids, which are neither metals nor nonmetals; they possess some properties or metals while others of nonmetals.

Aluminum is considered a metal because it is good at conducting heat and electricity. It has a silvery-white look, and like all the metallic elements, is in solid-state. Aluminum is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, ductile, and extremely malleable. It can be shaped into thin wires and foil sheets that every household is familiar with.

Automobile die cast component

Pure aluminum is soft and flexible, but it gets hard when mixed with other elements. It is commonly used to make a large variety of products such as foils, utensils, frames, pots, and even airplane parts. All these properties of aluminum make it a strong, popular and useful metal found abundantly on Earth.

What is the difference between iron and aluminium?

The most significant difference between these two valuable metals is that iron is a lot heavier than aluminum. At room temperature, aluminum’s density is 2.70 g/cm3, while iron has a density of 7.87 g/cm3, making iron the heavier metal. Aluminum and iron are used to build automobiles and airplane parts.

However, the main body of cars and airplanes are made with aluminum because of its lighter density and lightweight.  Aluminum and iron have significant properties such as atomic weight, atomic number, melting, and boiling point. Iron is symbolized by Fe and has an atomic number 26, whereas the atomic number of aluminum is 13, and its symbol is Al. Iron has a higher melting and boiling point than aluminum.

Aluminum is extensively used in die cast production of complex parts and components. Household appliances, marines components, medical equipment, and other equipment are prepared using aluminum as a key input.

Another vital difference is their ability to attract magnets; iron is highly magnetic, whereas aluminum is nonmagnetic. In their pure form, both of these metals are silvery-grey, soft, and react with moist air, but aluminum is more reactive than iron.

Heat and electricity conductivity is a property of all metals, aluminum, however, is a better conductor than iron. Iron and aluminum are used vastly in several industrial products, and aluminum has an edge due to its corrosion resistance. On the other hand, iron corrodes quickly; it is mixed with carbon to make stainless steel, an alloy.

How do we verify if aluminium is ferrous or nonferrous?

To verify this, the first thing you need to do is know the properties of ferrous and nonferrous metals. The simplest explanation is that metals containing some iron components are ferrous, while those without iron are non ferrous. Ferrous metals can be identified as magnetic, and they are most likely to rust. Steel is one of the common ferrous metals, which is made by combining iron ore and carbon. Stainless steel alloys are made by the addition of chromium to avoid rust.

Aluminum sheets

Nonferrous metals cannot attract magnetic substances, but they do not rust. It is easy to verify aluminium as a nonferrous metal with all of these properties because it is nonmagnetic and has high corrosion resistance. Another indicator for verifying if aluminium is ferrous or nonferrous is to measure its density. Iron-containing alloys are denser than those without iron components.

Other than aluminium, the most vital nonferrous metals are:

Lead: Although it is a nonferrous metal, it is famous for its heaviness. Lead does not react directly with most of the substances, which gives it high corrosion resistance.

Copper: Most widely used metal for electrical and thermal applications due to its extreme conductivity. Copper and copper alloys are remarkably flexible and provide good resistance to corrosion. 

Why is aluminum used as a material in die casting heat sink manufacturing?

Heat sinks absorb and disperse the heat produced by electronic devices. They come in numerous sizes and shapes with distinct manufacturing processes and the materials used for them. Heat skins are generally made from copper and aluminum. The reasons why aluminum is used as a material in heat sinks include:

  •  Aluminum has the highest thermal conductivity after copper. Thermal conductivity is the ability of a metal to conduct heat across mediums. Aluminum alloy 1050 offers the highest heat conductivity; 229W/m K.
  • The density of aluminum is 2.7g/cm3, making it 70 times lighter than copper. Heat sink manufacturers prefer aluminum because an aluminum heat sink weighs half of a copper heat sink.
  •  Aluminum is a nonferrous metal (not containing iron components), which means it is nonmagnetic. The nonmagnetic property of aluminum makes it a widely used material for heat sinks because it cannot interfere with electronic devices’ magnetic fields.
  •  The corrosion resistance of aluminum is enhanced by its chemical tendency to form aluminum oxide. The oxide layer over the heat sink provides natural protection from corrosion.
  • Aluminum is present in abundance on Earth, which is why it’s budget-friendly. Refining and machining of aluminum are not costly. It is highly malleable and easy to recycle.

Circuit board hear sink die-cast

What are the different types of aluminum grades?

In industries, aluminum can be found in different grades and shapes, each with its unique properties. Aluminum is highly adaptable, mostly due to its numerous alloys, which create aluminum grades. Different types of aluminum grades are listed on a grade chart, which shows its alloys’ properties, strengths, and uses.

Die cast mold

The most common types of aluminum grades include:

Alloy 1100: This grade is one of the purest forms of aluminum, commercially used. Because of its soft nature, it has excellent workability, which is ideal for industrial purposes. Mostly used in food packaging utensils with its high corrosion resistance.

Alloy 3003: This aluminum grade is mostly used for manufacturing pots, storage packages, and architectural purposes. Alloy 3003 is pure aluminum mixed with manganese that improves its strength without changing its flexibility.

Alloy 5052: Al5052 is an aluminum alloy containing magnesium and chromium. It can be easily formed into shapes and is moderately strong in comparison to other common alloys. The alloy can also be hardened by cold work and has good corrosion resistance.

Alloy 6061: This alloy of aluminum is one of the most popular and commonly used alloys with primary elements magnesium and silicon. It is much stronger than Al5052 and also heat treatable, with maximum yield strength. As one of the most versatile alloys, it can be employed by different industrial procedures.

Alloy 6063: 6063 grade of aluminum is well known as an architectural alloy. It offers high tensile properties and medium to high-level strength. Its high corrosive resistance property is mainly used in marine crafts, frames, architectural, and cycling components.

Alloy 7075: Zinc is the main element of this alloy, with magnesium, copper, and chromium present in small quantities. It is the strongest grade of aluminum, which is why it is used for airplane manufacturing.

Is aluminum lighter than titanium?

Yes, aluminum is lighter than titanium. Titanium is a shiny metal of silver color that has high strength and low density. Aluminum holds a density of 2.7 g/cm3, and the density of titanium is around 4.5 g/cm3, which means titanium is heavier than aluminum. The greater density of titanium gives it more strength, but unlike aluminum, titanium is a poor electricity conductor.

These two metals have low weight and have higher strength than other metals used in productions, such as steel and iron. But for the critical manufacturing of machines like satellites and aircraft, each gram counts; that’s why trades focus primarily on these two metals.  Despite having more weight than aluminum, industries tend to choose titanium when somewhat delicate, but more solid parts are needed.

Most of the surgical instruments are made up of titanium, and the reason is its lack of reactivity with air and excellent corrosion resistance. Aluminum does not possess the high biocompatibility that titanium has. The only thing that stops the buyers from choosing titanium in larger quantities is its extraction and refining cost. In this regard, aluminum is cost-effective and widely used in airplane parts, automotive manufacturing, and CNC machining parts.

Which element is stronger: steel or aluminium?

When comparing the strength of these two metals, steel wins as it is stronger than aluminum. But strength cannot be measured only through how heavy metal is; there are some other factors. Malleability is one of them; aluminum has a better ability to be bent and drawn into so many different shapes without breaking.

The durability and strength of steel attract automobile manufacturers. Aluminum, on the other hand, has gained its position in the automobile industry, too, with its lightweight properties. Another reason aluminum is used in automobile frames is that it doesn’t rust. The carbon steel corrodes quickly, but steel is more potent than aluminum even with its corrosive tendency.

Steel vs Aluminum

Steel is stronger than aluminum and can carry a large load compared to aluminum without deforming. Alloys of aluminum have lower tensile strength, but their lower density allows them to have better strength to mass ratio. Some aluminum alloys, such as grade 6061, have a much greater tensile strength than a few steel alloys. This is why they are preferred in industrial processes, along with their adaptability to detailed design structures.

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