What is Aluminum?

What exactly is aluminum? I thought the internationally accepted name for this metal was ALUMINIUM?

What’s the latest on the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease?

Aluminum is simply the way we Yanks spell it. It’s pronounced “uh-LOO-min-um”.

I don’t think there is any internationally standardized spelling. It’s “aluminio” in Spanish, “aluminium” in Italian, in French, and in British English, and “Aluminium” [always capitalized] in German.

And, for what it’s worth, there is no good reason to prefer the one over the other. The history is complicated and boring and I have a vague notion it’s come up before in another thread. It’s just one of those annoying differences between British and US English.

You are all wrong.

The salt it was first isolated from was Alum. Following correct scientific terminology, the metal rightly should be called ** ALUMIUM ** with the emphasis on the LUM part of the word.

If correct procedure had been followed there wouldn’t be a problem.

Well, Alumium certainly flows better than “Al-OO-min-EE-um”. OK, if you brits agree to drop your “in”, we’ll agree to drop our “n”. On count of three, K? Ready? One. Two. Three.

Hahahaha! Tricked you again! Fools! Did you REALLY think we’d drop our “n”? Now you’re DEFENSELESS!

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OK, so practically speaking, I can eliminate aluminum by not using antiperspirant… but I’ve been wondering about this for a while: Is it possible to make an UNSCENTED DEODORANT? Or is that impossible, by definition, and you can only have Unscented Antiperspirants? Do any unscented deodorants exist?

You b*stard Lemur, let us have our “in” back this minute!
Anyway, I think you meant DEFENCELESS ;).

Well, there must be, 'cause I did a Google search just now under “unscented deodorants” and got 1,860 hits. Most of them look like Organic Back to Nature-type stuff, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a name-brand unscented deodorant on the shelf at Osco. Go and look. :slight_smile:

Yeah… I’m actually skeptical the organic stuff actually works - what would the mechanism be? If it doesn’t cover up the odour nor prevent sweating, what does it do? Even Arm and Hammer deodorants, which contain baking soda, use other scents in their sticks. As for other mainstream brands - I couldn’t find any in the pharmacies and chemist shops in Canada and Australia… So far, any unscented stuff I have seen in mainstream brands is anti- perspirants…

What about reports that repeted exposure to aluminum or aluminum compounds increases one’s chances of becoming allergic? I can no longer use antipersperants, presumably becuase of the aluminum content. In fact, Brut® deodorant seems to be the only brand I can use at all without lumps forming in my pits.

It could perhaps be an anti-bacterial…

Friendly neighborhood skeptic speaks up: what reports? Made by whom? Received from what source? Although I haven’t seen this particular rumor, similar health-type rumors floating around have turned out to be, in my experience, started by somebody selling a product that doesn’t have the ingredient, in order to attempt to establish a marketing advantage. Many of these things are debunked on various sites that debunk things, such as http://urbanlegends.about.com/science/urbanlegends/library/blxatoz.htm
; I’ve also done some of my own tracing just for fun and have seen this for myself. The notorious cancer-causing shampoo ingredient, for example, and other stuff. (The proper answer to such rumors is to once again send out the dihydrogen monoxide warning.)

Jeff Olsen, are you certain that reaction qualifies as an allergy?

I use deodorants exclusively. I once tried anti-perspirant, and developed a lump. Went to the doctor, he told me that the AP blocks sweat glands, and can cause lumps of water under the skin, which is what those lumps were. His remedy - stop using AP and go back to deodorant. Did that, problem went away. It’s not really an allergy, but the sweat pores getting blocked.

This is possible, but I also saw my doctor when I first noticed lumps. She didn’t mention anything about lumps of water. Not only do I get these after applying AP, but also most deodorants and if I use my favorite shampoo under there.

BTW: I have no idea where I first heard about this, but it’s not unheard of. Several hospital workers have developed allergic reactions to latex after prolonged exposure to rubber gloves.

It starts as Aluminum ore, also known as Bauxite from which pure Alumina (Aluminum Oxide) is extracted. Then coke and pitch is added. Then it’s baked, pounded, and even electrocuted which finally ends up as an Aluminum Rod.
This links to a pretty good description of the process.


The rods are sent to a mill where it gets turned into ingots.
The ingots are sent to extruders where your every day drink containers and household items are made.

And that is Aluminum.


Where to start,
First, NiceguyJack had it the closest, in fact damn near perfect, aluminum is too reactive chemically to occur naturally as the free metal. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief ore of aluminum is bauxite, a mixture of hydrated aluminum oxide (Al2O3·xH2O) and hydrated iron oxide (Fe2O3·xH2O). Another mineral important in the production of aluminum metal is cryolite (Na3AlF6). However, cryolite is not used as an ore; the aluminum is not extracted from it.
Also, a guy named Robert Bunsen prepared aluminum metal in the 1850s by passing an electric current though molten sodium aluminum chloride. However, because both potassium metal and electricity were quite expensive, aluminum remained a laboratory chemical until after the invention of the mechanical electrical generator. In 1886, Charles Martin Hall of Oberlin, Ohio, and Paul Héroult of France, who were both 22 years old at the time, independently discovered and patented the process in which aluminum oxide is dissolved in molten cryolite and decomposed electrolytically. The Hall-Héroult process remains the only method by which aluminum metal is produced commercially.
Now one would think jezzaOz was correct but this is not true…in fact that metallic aluminum was first prepared by Hans Oersted, a Danish chemist, in 1825. He obtained the metal by heating dry aluminum chloride with potassium metal. Not from a salt “potassium”.
AlCl3 + 3 K Al + 3 KCl

THe correct procedure goes like this,

The first step in the commercial production of aluminum is the separation of aluminum oxide from the iron oxide in bauxite. This is accomplished by dissolving the aluminum oxide in a concentrated sodium hydroxide solution. Aluminum ions form a soluble complex ion with hydroxide ions, while iron ions do not.
Al2O3xH2O(s) + 2 OH¯(aq) 2 Al(OH)4¯(aq) + (x­3) H2O(l)
After the insoluble iron oxide is filtered from the solution, Al(OH)3 is precipitated from the solution by adding acid to lower the pH to about 6. Then the precipitate is heated to produce dry Al2O3 (alumina).

2 Al(OH)3(s) Al2O3(s) + 3 H2O(g)

also, in the Hall-Héroult process, aluminum metal is obtained by electrolytic reduction of alumina. Pure alumina melts at over 2000°C. To produce an electrolyte at lower temperature, alumina is dissolved in molten cryolite at 1000°C. The electrolyte is placed in an iron vat lined with graphite. The vat serves as the cathode. Carbon anodes are inserted into the electrolyte from the top. The oxygen produced at the anodes reacts with them, forming carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Therefore, the anodes are consumed and need to be replaced periodically. Molten aluminum metal is produced at the cathode, and it sinks to the bottom of the vat. The principal cell reactions are

cathode: 4 Al3+ + 12 e¯ 4 Al(l)
anode: 6 O2¯ 3 O2(g) + 12 e¯
net: 4 Al3+ 4 Al(l) + 3 O2(g)

Therefore, jezzaOZ, it’s proper name should be Aluminum, from the word Alumina (um for “taken or made from”) just like an Ovum is from an Ovary.
So the correct procedure was followed, I’m afraid that you are wrong.
As to the allergic properties of aluminum, it is still a “wishy-washy” topic at best, but based on what I know of the chemical aluminum, I’d say it’s highly volalitle, and because of this, it could react to certain PH imbalances in human persperation.

In 1809 Sir Humphry Davy prepared an iron-aluminum alloy by electrolyzing fused alumina (aluminum oxide) and named the element Aluminum.

Alumina itself had only been recognised in 1801, presumably in the processes leading to extracting the metal.
Alumina is a nasty variant on the Latin Alumen meaning Alum.

Alum was the name for the principal mineral at the time of the extraction(s). Similarly, Soda was the principal mineral providing Sodium (Forget about salt for now) and Potash was the principal source of Potassium.

Using similar logic, if Sodium comes from Soda, and Potassium comes from Potash, then Alumium should derive from Alum.

It’s all that Davy fellow’s fault. If he had got it right in the first place none of this would have happened.


Ok, I see your logic, and yes lookign at it that way one would digest it to be so, BUT…

Iron-aluminum, is just that, 85% Iron, 15% Aluminum Alloy.
The first truly metalic (E.I., 96% Aluminum, 4% XXXX mettalic/mineral properties), was in 1825. Thus settin gthe stage by wich it is made today.Soda, Sodium, Potash, Potassium, Alumina, drop the a, Aluminum (meaning element of plural entities). Sodum would not sound right, nor would pottasum, but because the “n” is a soft consonant, you do not use the “ium”, just one vowel, thus creating “um”.
But to take from someone, it really doesn’t matter which one to pronounce. As long as your not a chemist, and doing experiments with a paper to follow… LOL
Think of it like this, the old adage, You say Tomato, I say Tom… etc…


I should add, by the way, that the British pronouce it Al-yoo-MIN-ee-um.