Electroplating 101

A Small Introduction to Plating and Coating

Aluminum plating

The metallic element aluminum is the third most plentiful element in the earth's crust, comprising 8% of the planet's soil and rocks (oxygen and silicon make up 47% and 28%, respectively). In nature, aluminum is found only in chemical compounds with other elements such as sulphur, silicon, and oxygen. Pure, metallic aluminum can be economically produced only from aluminum oxide ore.

Metallic aluminum has many properties that make it useful in a wide range of applications. It is lightweight, strong, nonmagnetic, and nontoxic. It conducts heat and electricity and reflects heat and light. It is strong but easily workable, and it retains its strength under extreme cold without becoming brittle. The surface of aluminum quickly oxidizes to form an invisible barrier to corrosion. Furthermore, aluminum can easily and economically be recycled into new products.

A metallic chemical element, symbol Al, atomic number 13, atomic weight 26.98154, in group 13 of the periodic system. Pure aluminum is soft and lacks strength, but it can be alloyed with other elements to increase strength and impart a number of useful properties. Alloys of aluminum are light, strong, and readily formable by many metalworking processes; they can be easily joined, cast, or machined, and accept a wide variety of finishes. Because of its many desirable physical, chemical, and metallurgical properties, aluminum has become the most widely used nonferrous metal. See also Periodic table.

Aluminum is the most abundant metallic element on the Earth and Moon but is never found free in nature. The element is widely distributed in plants, and nearly all rocks, particularly igneous rocks, contain aluminum in the form of aluminum silicate minerals. When these minerals go into solution, depending upon the chemical conditions, aluminum can be precipitated out of the solution as clay minerals or aluminum hydroxides, or both. Under such conditions bauxites are formed. Bauxites serve as principal raw materials for aluminum production.

Aluminum is a silvery metal having a density of 1.56 oz/in.3 at 68°F (2.70 g/cm3 at 20°C). Naturally occurring aluminum consists of a single isotope, 2713Al. Aluminum crystallizes in the face-centered cubic structure with edge of the unit lattice cube of 4.0495 angstroms (0.40495 nanometer). Aluminum is known for its high electrical and thermal conductivities and its high reflectivity.

Taken from Answers.com

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