Because Bauxite is one of the most common ores found on the earth, sources for refining this into an ‘alumina’ oxide are plentiful. Passing an electric current through this pure oxide material creates the metal we know, using a process called ‘electrolytic reduction’. The silver coloured metal can be made into alloys by the addition of small amounts of other metals which can change the character or performance of these alloys to suit particular applications. Aluminium foil consists of almost pure aluminium but, increasingly, new alloys to add strength or make thinner gauges of the material, can be found on the market.
Keep on rolling: Facts about foil
For more than a century aluminium has been a key material for many industries. It became plentiful once it was possible to extract the aluminium cost effectively and in commercial quantities from Bauxite in the late 19th century. Today it reaches every part of modern society: packaging is a primary user, along with kitchenwares; insulation, components or conductive material for cars and buildings; even spacecraft cannot function without aluminium. Currently more than 40 tonnes of new metal is produced worldwide; but today a large amount of aluminium used in manufacturing comes from recycled products.