Aluminium, the third most abundant element on the earth’s crust after oxygen and silicon, is extracted from an ore called Bauxite. The ore is refined to make ‘alumina’, a pure aluminium oxide. The aluminium metal is then produced from alumina by passing an electric current through it in a process called ‘electrolytic reduction’. The resulting silvery metal is the basis of a wide range of alloys made by adding small amounts of other metals to provide the specific characteristics needed for each application. For most alufoil packaging virtually pure aluminium is used but increasingly alloys are being ‘tailored’ in order to add strength and allow for reductions in thickness for the same performance.
Facts about Aluminium Foil
Aluminium has been used commercially for over 100 years. Since the late nineteenth century its plentiful availability and its characteristics have increasingly shaped our modern way of life. Think of aircraft and cars without it, or space exploration, electricity transmission, modern buildings, cooking pans and, today, high quality packaging of many sorts. More than 43 million tons of primary aluminium is now produced annually around the world. Thanks to recycling, an increasingly large amount comes from metal which has been used at least once before.