Aluminum

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Aluminum, Al, element number 13, is a fairly average looking metal, it's quite light, pretty strong, and doesn't corrode easily. Why, you ask, doesn't it corrode? Because it forms an oxide layer, but unlike iron oxide(or rust), this layer doesn't flake off, in fact it stays quite firmly attached, making a nice protective layer.

This oxide layer makes it difficult to weld though, because you can't really weld to an oxide due to their high melting points, so how it must be done is an electrical arc from a tungsten rod too an aluminum surface, then putting an aluminum rod into this arc, however to keep it from oxidizing, the tungsten rod is in the center of a tube, which is constantly blasting out argon gas. This method is known as "TIG" welding, for Tungsten Inert Gas.

Aluminum is produced from an aluminum oxide known as bauxite, which is electrolyzed in massive vats to persued the impurities away.

These are my samples!

Magnalium

Magnalium is a nick-name given to a magnesium-aluminum alloy, about 50/50, used in various pyrotechnic mixtures and compositions. Since I have about 4 pounds of scrap magnesium and aluminum is all but hard to come by, I thought I'd make my own, and this is what I came up with!

It's so brittle you can crush it with a mortar and pestle, and while making it you have to throw sulfur on it to create a cloud of sulfur dioxide to protect the molten magnesium from violently bursting into flames... Tricky stuff to make, but it's nice and shiny and rare so why not.

Date added(year-month-day):20120229, sample number:98

Tags(Elements in sample):magnesium, aluminum

Lost-Foam Cast Aluminum

Lost-foam casting is a process for casting aluminum which involves making a foam version of what you want with an extra rod, burying it so the rod sticks out of the sand, and then when you pour molten aluminum it's so hot it instantly evaporates the foam and fills the area left behind. This was my first successful casting back in '08 or so, I was very proud of it.

Date added(year-month-day):20110801, sample number:47

Tags(Elements in sample):aluminum

Aluminum Heatsink

Aluminum, being a good conductor of heat, is very commonly used to draw heat away from important electronic parts, the idea behind this being that if you put the part on a piece of aluminum, the aluminum will absorb the heat, and then if you make thin vanes of aluminum, air will absorb the heat from the aluminum, and your heat is gone, your part is safe from burning up. This came from a transistor, or electronic switch, in a TV I took apart.

Date added(year-month-day):20110723, sample number:11

Tags(Elements in sample):aluminum

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