What Is the Density of Aluminum?

By Sharon Omondi on October 13 2017 in Did You Know

As a lightweight and malleable metal, aluminum can be made into sheets of foil and used in applications such as packaging and cooking.

What Is Density?

Density measures the relationship between the space occupied by an object (volume) and its mass. The principle was discovered by Greek scientist Archimedes. To calculate density, the mass of a substance is divided by its volume (D = M/V). The standard unit used to measure density is kilograms per cubic meter (km3). Density helps to predict the behavior of a substance when it interacts with others. For instance, wood has a lower density than water, which causes it to float on water. However, a piece of stone will sink in water because it has a higher density than water. Specific gravities and densities relate to each other since the former is the ratio of the density of an object to the density of water. The more space an object occupies, the lesser dense it will be.

History and Properties of Aluminum

Danish chemist Hans Christian discovered aluminum as a pure metal in the 19th century. Aluminum is the third most abundant mineral on earth and is found in many elements like cryolite and feldspar. The metal exists mostly as a composite of bauxite, which consists of aluminum oxide and water. The atomic number of aluminum is 13, and it has an atomic mass unit of 26.98. Aluminum is silvery gray or white in Colorado, and its chemical symbol is Al. The metal has a boiling point of 2,470°C and a melting point of 660.3°C.

The Density of Aluminum

The density of aluminum is about 2700 kg/km3, which is equivalent to 2.7g/cm3. This means that every 1.0 m3 of aluminum has a mass of 2700 kg. The density of aluminum is constant, but heavier than that of water. Therefore, when placed in water, it sinks. Aluminum and its alloys have relatively lower densities than steel. In fact, it only has a third of the density of iron. The low density explains the use of aluminum in the aerospace industry and other transport industries.

Uses of Aluminum

There are several uses of aluminum. When combined with other metals like copper, aluminum is strong. Aluminum is also light, malleable and ductile. Therefore, it can be used for various purposes like making car engines, airplane parts, kitchen wares, and furniture. Aluminum is not corrosive, which makes it useful in chemical and food handling. Additionally, aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, and is therefore used in electrical equipment. Aluminum also forms a compound known as aluminum oxide, which used in industrial processes. Another compound called aluminum sulfate is used in water treatment, and aluminum chloride is used for refining petroleum.

More in Did You Know