June 2018

58 59 I t may be hard to believe, but at one time, aluminum was con- sidered more rare and precious than gold or silver - even though it’s the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, making up about eight percent by weight of the planet’s solid surface. The reason that this relatively soft, durable, lightweight, ductile, and malleable metal, prized for its ability to resist corrosion was so rare in its pure form, is because the complexities of refining aluminum from its main ore, bauxite, and the other oxide and silicate compounds where it resides, were not suc- cessfully conquered until late in the 19th century. But once the processes for extracting and refining pure aluminum had been perfected, far-seeing industrialists and businessmen were quick to recognize its superior qualities. Today, aluminum has not only become a foundation of our country’s infrastruc- ture, its uses and applications pervade every aspect of our lives. From transportation, to packaging, to construction, to electrical transmission, to utensils; in everything from window frames to rocket ships, from rolls of foil to the International Space Station, aluminum and alumi- num alloys can be found in abundance. Aluminum was even selected as the material of choice for the capstone of the Washington Monument! Aluminum Association The ADVANCING THE AGENDA OF THE “MIRACLE METAL” AT A GLANCE THE ALUMINUM ASSOCIATION WHAT: A non-profit organization representing the aluminum sector WHERE: Arlington, Virginia WEBSITE: www.aluminum.org