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Difference Between Bauxite and Aluminum

Bauxite Vs Aluminum

People know little about bauxite but many are familiar with aluminum. To put it simply, aluminum is derived from the principal ore that is bauxite.

Aluminum is nonetheless, the most abundant metallic element in the planet’s crust and the third most common (abundant) element in the crust behind Oxygen and Silicon. Bauxite is its main source. In the U.S. alone, aluminum is commonly used for packaging purposes as well as in transportation and building. For the said metal, Australia and Guinea claim almost 50% of the total world reserve for such. Brazil, India and Jamaica also have some significant reserves of the metal.

Bauxite is a more general term for a piece of rock made of oxides of hydrated aluminum. It is the primary ore of alumina, which is used to make the actual aluminum. This ore is also utilized in making aluminous refractories and synthetic corundum. Bauxite is actually reddish brown in color and can also appear white, tan yellow or simply tan.

Color wise, aluminum appears to be a silvery white metal that is very light weight. It is actually three times as dense as ordinary water but its toughness is without question. This is the reason why many transportation vehicles including the most advanced like space shuttles and airplanes make use of plenty of aluminum to coat the vehicle thus making it sturdy; and at the same time as light as possible for ease of travel. Aluminum also has many uses at home making it a very popular element to most common people. In this connection, aluminum is a very ductile element. This property enables aluminum to be firmly pressed into fine thin sheets (aluminum foils) and even drawn into wires.

Aluminum is a very reactive type of metal. Because of this, it is not able to exist naturally in nature. It easily reacts to both air and water forming some hydroxides and powdery oxides. Hence aluminum is extracted from other ores like feldspars. However, procuring the metal from such minerals prove to be tasking and costly in terms of energy requirements. This is the reason why aluminum is harnessed mostly from bauxite (99%) of all aluminum metals because it is the most cost effective approach.

1. Bauxite is a more general term compared to aluminum.

2. Aluminum is harnessed from bauxite and not vice versa.

3. Aluminum is a metal while Bauxite is an ore or a rock because it is made of many minerals mixed altogether.

4. Aluminum is silvery white in color while bauxite looks reddish brown or tan.


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2 Comments

  1. Aluminum is NOT extracted from bauxite. Alumina is extracted by crushing bauxite in a concentrated solution of caustic soda, separating the alumina by precipitating, and then firing the cake in a calcining kiln. Alumina, which looks and feel like sugar, is then reduced to liquid aluminum in an electric reduction furnace.

    I know this because I worked in a Reynolds alumina plant in S. Tx. for 20 years.

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