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History of Aluminium
Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Since the discovery of bauxite in 1821 by P. Bertheir, the metal has gradually evolved as a cheap, durable metal which finds applications in several industries.

The metal originally obtained its name from the Latin word for alum, alumen. The name alumina was proposed by L. B. G. de Moreveau, in 1761 for the base in alum and it was successfully shown in 1787 that the base was the oxide of a yet to be discovered metal. The existence of aluminium was established by Sir Humphry Davy in 1808.

Initially, aluminium was produced by reduction with alkali metals and was very expensive. In 1886 C. M. Hall and Paul Héroult, working independently, came up with a cost-effective solution called the Hall-Héroult electrolytic process that refined aluminium production. In this process, the aluminium oxide is dissolved in molten cryolite and then reduced to the pure metal. The Bayer process was deployed to purify the raw material alumina, recover it from sodium hydroxide and used in the Hall-Héroult process.

The Hall-Héroult process consumes a lot of energy but the development of alternative processes was scrapped due to technical problems and also because these were economically unviable. Therefore, the Hall-Héroult process has remained the relatively inexpensive mode of producing aluminium.
 
The following is a timeline covering the chief events in the history of aluminium:
1761 - L.B.G. de Moreveau proposes the name alumina for the base of alum.
1808 - Sir Humphrey Davy establishes the existence of aluminium
1821 - P. Bertheir discovers bauxite
1825 - Oersted produces the first pellet of aluminium
1827 - Friedrich Wohler describes a process for producing aluminium as a powder by reacting potassium with anhydrous aluminium chloride.
1845 - Wohler establishes the lightness of aluminium
1855 - Henri Saint-Clair Deville displays a solid bar of aluminium at a Paris exhibition. The production cost of the metal is higher than that of gold or silver
1885 - Hamilton Y. Cassner improves on Deville's process of producing aluminium
1886 - Paul Louis Toussaint Heroult and Charles Martin Hall, working separately, come up with the cheaper Hall-Heroult electrolysis process of producing aluminium.
1888 - The first aluminium companies founded in 1888 in France, the USA and Switzerland
1889 - Karl Josef Bayer invents the Bayer Process for the large-scale production of alumina from bauxite.
 
Aluminium vis-à-vis other metals
  Heat Conductor Electricity Conductor Malleable Ductile Corrosion Resistant Rusting Magnetic
Aluminium
Copper
Steel
Iron
Tin
 
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