Transparency is part of the good tone we set at Müller & Sohn. Our info section provides additional information – above and beyond what is provided on our comprehensive website – for anybody who wants to find out more about the company in black and white. Please visit this section often because we regularly supplement and update this page.
Aluminium - Due to its many possibilities, aluminium is the most important light metal. It is used in constructions as well as a reagent in the steel industry or in metal extraction. Its naturally thin oxide layer makes it corrosion-resistant and gives it a durable metallic sheen. Powder-metallurgically produced aluminium materials offer high strength with low weight. Aluminium scrap can be easily recycled into secondary aluminium.
Aluminium rolled products - These include: Strips, sheets, pattern plates, plates, rings, rounds, rolled pattern plates and blanks.
Aluminium pressed and drawn products - These include: Binding wire, lightning protection wire, wires, flat rods, shaped wires, shaped tubes, cant rods, guide rails, tubes, round wires, round tubes, round rods, special porifiles according to drawings, welding protection wire, special profiles, standard profiles, rods, profiles and accessories.
Arbitrage - With arbitrage, the metal trader tries to exploit the price differences existing between different metal exchanges, especially Comex and LME, to his advantage.
Authorised Clerks - Are admitted to the LME and authorised to act in the ring.
Advance purchase or sale - A purchase or sale of a loco commodity for delivery at a later date.
Baissiers - Refers to those on the exchange who expect prices to fall.
Bear - The bear expects falling market prices and acts accordingly.
Bearish - Sentiment on the metal exchange directed towards a weakening market expectation is called "bearish".
Call Arrangements - Agreement on the willingness of cash deposits between brokerage firm and client.
Call option - Option received on the basis of a premium paid to declare within a certain period whether or not to buy on the agreed terms. A call option is usually purchased when the buyer expects a sharp rise in prices. If prices fall or do not rise sufficiently, the buyer's loss is limited to the amount of the premium paid plus incidental costs (commission and interest). If prices rise by more than the premium plus incidental costs, the option buyer makes a profit. The counterpart is the "put option".
Clearing - Clearing price, which may refer to the daily price at which the clearing house clears all transactions for the day; but may also refer to the price determined by the exchange to clear unliquidated contracts due to force majeure or other reasons.
Closing - The end of exchange trading.
Comex - Abbreviation for the New York Futures Exchange (Commodity Exchange Inc.).
Contango - Premium for forward commodities. Indicates an abundant supply of effective commodities or stronger demand for futures or expresses expectations of shortages in the future. The amount of the contango is limited by the costs of warehousing and financing.
Close-out - A bull is one who expects prices to rise. A particular news item is called a bullish news item if it can be seen as an omen of rising prices.
Commission houses - In contrast to traders (dealers), commission houses are firms that do not maintain their own positions on the exchange but limit themselves to placing orders on the exchange for the account of third parties. Commission houses are not necessarily ring members (brokers) themselves.
Contracts - Exchange contracts with brokerage firms for exchange-eligible qualities.
Contract price - The price agreed between the parties and included in the LME contract.
Control obligations of the authorities - Until 7 October 1996, the control procedures of the Waste and Residues Monitoring Ordinance applied. Their basic features remain largely unchanged, but a number of detailed provisions change. In future, there will be an obligatory verification procedure for problem waste. This means that the proper recovery or disposal of their waste must be fully documented in accordance with § 16 KrW-/AbfG. For waste that does not require monitoring, the control only applies if the local authorities insist on it. Positive innovation: Waste disposal no longer has to be expressly approved. A corresponding application is considered approved if the authority does not object within 30 days.
Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act - On 07 October 1992, the implementation of the new Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrW-/AbfG) began in practice. The concept of waste was significantly expanded. Now, materials previously referred to as raw materials, secondary raw materials or economic goods also fall under waste legislation. A distinction is made only between waste for recovery and waste for disposal. The legislator sets priorities for the treatment of waste: Avoidance comes before recovery, recovery comes before disposal.
Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act - On 7 October 1996, the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (KrW-/AbfG) finally came into force. This was a fundamental reorganisation and new regulation of the German waste law. A prerequisite for the de facto implementation of the KrW-/AbfG in practice is the adoption of numerous concrete ordinances. The KrW-/AbfG brings Germany into line with European waste legislation. The KrW-/AbfG serves to promote the circular economy in order to conserve natural resources and ensure the environmentally sound disposal of waste. Waste prevention is given priority over recycling and environmentally sound waste disposal. The aim is to keep waste in the material cycle for as long as possible so that ultimately as little of it as possible has to be disposed of. Furthermore, it is intended to conserve the remaining landfill space and the available raw material resources.
Competition for environmental market share - Although Germany has been considered the world export champion in the environmental technology industry for years, recent results show that the world market position of the German environmental industry is under attack and important competitor countries have been able to improve their position
DEL-Notiz - The designation DEL stands for "Deutsche Elektrolytkupfer-Notierungen für Leitmaterial". It is the result of market statistics in which the purchase prices of 15 well-known non-ferrous metal processors and suppliers of copper are recorded. The metal is processed for deliveries of cables, insulated wires and electrical conductive material within the Federal Republic of Germany. The reporting companies represent about 90 percent of the copper demand for cables and conductors in the Federal Republic.
Distinction between recovery and disposal - The decisive factor here is the main purpose of the measure, whereby the recipient's or user's point of view applies, taking into account the perception of the market. Decisions are made on the basis of economic efficiency and pollutant potential. In the case of waste recovery, the main purpose must be recovery or treatment. In contrast, the main purpose of waste disposal is the elimination of the pollutant potential.
Delivery Price - On some commodity exchanges (such as in the US, but not on the LME), there is a limit to the price movements during a given period. As soon as the price decrease or increase reaches this limit, the exchange stops trading.
Economic benefits of ISO 9000 Reduction of defects in all areas of activity, avoidance of waste of all kinds Acquisition of new customers who demand a certificate, enforcement of constant or higher prices, elimination of deductions for defects and returns, advantages in the awarding of public contracts, increase in profitability in all areas of work, reduction of lead times per order
Growth forecasts - Compared to other economic sectors, above-average growth rates are expected for the environmental industry. The OECD expects the German market to grow from DM 27 billion (1990) to DM 37 billion (2000) and the global market to grow from DM 320 billion (1990) to DM 480 billion (2000).
Hazardous waste disposal - Hazardous waste requires special supervision under the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act because it is hazardous to health and the environment. Pre-treatment, landfilling and incineration of hazardous waste are subject to special legal regulations. According to the applicable Technical Instruction on Hazardous Waste, the landfilling of hazardous waste must be preceded by residual waste treatment with the aim of leach-proof integration of pollutants (inertisation) and volume reduction. Strict requirements are imposed with regard to the safety and monitoring capability of hazardous waste landfills. For certain hazardous wastes, incineration is mandatory, for example for oily operating materials. Today, the high costs of landfilling and incineration are a particular incentive for the economy to avoid waste and to recycle.
Inter-Market - The period between the close of the morning kerb and the start of the afternoon ring during which LME members make firm-to-firm telephone trades. This period is particularly important because the start of exchange trading on the Comex falls in this period.
ISO 9000 - Describes in general terms what is to be achieved with the introduction of a quality system.
ISO 9001 - Corresponds to standard 9002, but additionally contains instructions for the areas of development and sales.
ISO 9002 - Addresses managers of companies. It lists all the important points to be considered when introducing the quality system for the production area.
ISO 9003 - Regulates what must be observed during final inspections. It also gives instructions for the training of employees and the leadership behaviour of managers.
ISO 9004 - Applies mainly to service providers such as banks and insurance companies. The standard contains a guideline for quality management and states the requirements for service and product safety.
ISO element 1: Management responsibility: - Management establishes its objectives and the commitment of all employees to quality and ensures that the quality policy is understood by all. Management ensures an efficient organisational and operational structure, appoints an independent quality representative and periodically reviews the effectiveness and suitability of the quality management system. Employees with a management function have at least five years of successful management experience.
ISO element 2: Quality management system - The quality management system is described and documented in a quality management manual and in follow-up documents.
ISO element 3: Contract review - An audit ensures that contract terms and conditions are reviewed for completeness and feasibility before an order is accepted by us. It also ensures that only fulfilable orders are accepted and only sound customers are supplied.
ISO element 4: Design steering - Through the targeted steering and monitoring of research and development activities, Müller & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG Nachf. ensures that a product already meets the specified requirements during development.
ISO element 5: Control of documents and data - All documents and records used are checked and approved before they are distributed. They are available to all concerned and are constantly kept up to date.
ISO element 6: Procurement - All purchased products must meet the specified requirements. This is achieved through careful supplier selection, conscientious monitoring of supplies as well as supplier audits and clear procurement documents.
ISO element 7: Control of customer-supplied products - The objectives of the quality requirements must also be achieved with customer-supplied products. The handling of these products is clearly regulated.
ISO element 8: Labelling and traceability of products - Clear labelling of materials and documents during production, storage and delivery allows clear allocation and enables traceability.
ISO element 9: Process control - It must be possible to meet the quality requirements for products at every stage of manufacture. This is achieved through clear work instructions, controlled manufacturing processes, qualified and trained personnel and targeted monitoring of manufacturing processes and products.
ISO element 10: Testing - Appropriate procedures, test plans and test instructions ensure that products are tested for compliance with the specified requirements before further use.
ISO element 11: Test equipment monitoring - All our quality-related test equipment is recorded, monitored and carefully maintained in accordance with standards.
ISO element 12: Inspection status - The inspection status of the products is indicated by appropriate labelling. Defective products are excluded from further use by the current test status.
ISO element 13: Control of defective products - Measures for the identification, assessment, handling and documentation of defective products are carefully defined by us.
ISO element 14: Corrective and preventive actions - Every defect is systematically traced back to its final cause: Appropriate corrective and preventive actions are taken immediately after becoming aware of them to prevent the recurrence of defects.
ISO element 15: Handling, storage, packaging and shipping - Specifies comprehensive measures to prevent damage, confusion and deterioration during manufacture, handling, transport, storage, preservation, packaging and shipping.
ISO element 16: Control of quality records - Quality records are used to demonstrate compliance with quality requirements and to show the functioning of the quality management system.
ISO element 17: Internal quality audits - Internal quality audits should be conducted internally on a regular basis. The aim is to check the effectiveness and suitability of the quality management system. These audits should identify weaknesses, suggest improvements and test their effectiveness.
ISO element 18: Training - Training your employees is essential for the successful implementation of the quality concept. Training needs are systematically identified and appropriate training and development measures are defined.
ISO element 19: Maintenance / after-sales services - The after-sales services also meet the specified requirements. Maintenance and after-sales services are carried out by qualified, trained personnel.
ISO element 20: Statistical methods - Where appropriate or required, adequate statistical procedures are applied to work processes.
Kerb - The post-exchange trading that follows the end of the official exchange. Term is derived from "gutter" because post-exchange used to take place outside the exchange building.
Late Kerb - A transaction in which the principal sells metal at a prompt or near date and takes it back at a later date.
Limit orders - Orders that can only be executed if a certain price is reached.
Life cycle assessment - Life cycle assessment is a young term within ecology. It is intended to record and evaluate the environmental impact of a plant or product over its entire chain of use, from raw material extraction to disposal. Traditionally, industrial plants and especially consumer products were evaluated only according to their utility: they had to be attractive to the buyer in terms of utility value and price - but little attention was paid to production and disposal and the resulting environmental impacts. The new, ecologically determined way of thinking demands environmentally compatible products: The entire chain from production to use to disposal of waste should be as environmentally friendly as possible - waste avoidance takes precedence over recycling and disposal.
Merchant - A - in contrast to a producer's agent or broker - usually independent metal trader who buys metals or concentrates directly from the producer or other primary purchaser and sells them to consumers or other end users. Often the metal trader holds metals in stock for his own account, which are sold to the buyers in due course.
Material recovery - occurs when raw materials are substituted by secondary raw materials from waste or when the material properties of the waste are utilised.
Net Position - The difference between the number of contracts with long exposures and the number of contracts with short exposures for the account of an individual or firm.
Opening - Opening of exchange trading.
Open Exposures - Unsettled Contracts. In any given delivery month, the number of short exposures is equal to the number of long exposures. The total number of contracts sold is equal to the total number of contracts bought. Instead of open commitments, one also speaks of unwound contracts or open positions.
bThe price the seller asks for the commodity he is actually offering.
Official Market - Midday exchange that is also generally the benchmark for long-term contracts.
Open Outcry - The method used to trade on the London Metal Exchange and other futures markets. The broker pronounces what everyone is told to hear, namely "Buy or sell ... for a certain delivery date and price". If another broker responds to take that demand or offer, then the trade is fixed and that price becomes the last trade price for the delivery date.
Open Position - A forward position that has not been covered.
Option - Gives the buyer of an option (option taker or option taker) the right to buy (call or call option) or, conversely, to sell (put or put option) a futures contract at a specified price (strike or strike price) and in a specified month from the seller (option seller or grantor, writer). The buyer and seller agree on a strike price for this purpose, in addition to which the warehouse receipts pass into other hands when the option is exercised.
Original margin - The minimum margin set by the exchange that must be deposited in contract trading; the broker can demand a higher amount from his clients.
Paid - Indicates a price at which trades were made.
Physical Metal - Term used for metals that are actually traded as a commodity, as opposed to the purely paper transaction in the case of a hedge transaction.
Physical Market - Market in which metals are effectively and "physically" traded.
Position - An exposure to the exchange market in the form of open and unadjusted obligations.
Premium - Firstly, refers to the premium for a particular brand in a particular warehouse or for a particular brand alone or for a particular warehouse alone. Secondly, it refers to the price of an option, usually paid to the seller immediately on conclusion of the contract. LME option premiums are quoted in dollars and pounds. Thirdly, this term is also used for the "difference between the prices of different forward months".
Publicly acceptable disposal - All waste that cannot be recycled must be permanently excluded from the circular economy and disposed of in a manner that is acceptable to the public. It may only be collected and transported commercially with a transport permit and treated, stored or deposited in waste disposal facilities or approved BlmSchG facilities. Waste for disposal always requires supervision and a permit. The waste must be disposed of domestically as a matter of priority. Transboundary movements of waste are regulated in detail by the EC Waste Shipment Regulation and the Waste Shipment Act. The disposal procedures are listed in Annex II A of the KrW-/AbfG.
Proper recovery - The producers and owners of waste are obliged to recover it properly and without harm. Proper recovery complies with the KrW-/AbfG and other regulations under public law.
Packaging Ordinance - This is an ordinance passed in Germany in 1991, according to which trade and manufacturers must generally take back and recycle sales, secondary and transport packaging. At the same time, the Packaging Ordinance requires compliance with certain recycling quotas for recyclable materials such as glass, paper or lightweight packaging (cans, Tetrapak, plastic packaging) with regard to sales packaging. An exemption from the take-back obligation is possible if the companies set up their own collection and recovery systems. It was against this background that the Dual System (DSD) was established in Germany in 1991, also known as the Green Dot.
Prevention requirement - In principle, there is no legally binding general prevention requirement. However, waste should be avoided, in particular through the internal recycling of materials, low-waste product design and consumer behaviour aimed at purchasing products that are low in waste and pollutants.
Pre-market - Time before the start of the exchange sessions, in which quotations are already given at which trading also takes place. These quotations, however, have no influence on the later official setting of prices, but can still be trend-determining.
Pre-economic benefits of ISO 9000 - Reduction of stress through improved process organisation, increase of attention through qualitative specifications, strengthening of consensus through teams committed to quality, improvement of transparency through clear organisation, optimisation of relationships through better communication, increase of motivation through meaning and fun projects, strengthening of identification with M&S through employee involvement, improvement of info-management through efficient data flow.
Rally - A rapid sharp rise in price follows a fall in price but a calm horizontal trend.
Range - Price range between the highest and lowest price during a time period or price range between the two possible limits (above and below) during a trading day.
Recycling - Recycling is a collective term for the recovery of discarded goods and waste to produce new products. Recycling has always been carried out for used glass (glass recycling), used metals (scrap metal recycling) and used paper (cardboard/paper recycling): Waste metal or glass is melted down, waste paper is shredded and mixed into new paper - secondary raw materials are created for the manufacture of new products.
Recycling benefits - The benefits of recycling concepts: conservation of natural resources, waste avoidance and conservation of existing landfill space and energy savings.
Recognised certification procedures - A waste management company can obtain the "waste management specialist company" certificate either through a technical monitoring organisation with which an individual monitoring contract is concluded with the additional approval of a recognition authority, or by joining a recognised waste management association which awards its certificate independently. In both cases, the minimum requirements stipulated by the Ordinance on Specialised Waste Management Companies must form the basis of the inspection procedure and recognition.
Recyclable materials (secondary materials) - These are materials that are recovered by recycling worn-out products and serve as raw materials for new products. They are becoming increasingly important for the conservation of natural raw materials and the environment.
Session - At the London Metal Exchange, two sessions are held daily, one in the late morning and one in the afternoon. Each session consists of five-minute rings for each metal and a notch period of 15 minutes.
Settlement Quotation - The last seller quotation quoted during the ring will be accepted as the settlement quotation. The settlement of extension operations is based on this settlement quotation, which is in principle used by the stockbrokers.
Short - A short is someone who has sold a forward contract that does not liquidate a previously purchased contract on the same delivery month. In other words, he sells in the hope of buying back at a lower price.
Short position - A short position exists when a contract to sell has been entered into on the London Metal Exchange.
SIB - Securities and Investment Board. British Securities and Exchange Commission.
Stocks - Stocks that are stored in an approved metal exchange warehouse. The development of the stocks provides important information for the statistical recording of the metal.
Strike price - The price agreed between the seller and the buyer at which the option can be executed. This price is also called the "sinking price". This price is usually the market price of the metal
Spread - Difference between the highest and lowest price of a forward during a given period.
Speculator - Someone who enters into a futures contract for any purpose other than hedging.
Square - Means "balanced" - "smooth".
Square Book - The square book documents the "close out".
Squeeze - Supply shortages that prevail for a period of time and cause prices to firm relative to other delivery dates.
Steady - Market sentiment indicating that the price is likely to hold firm.
Stocks - Metal stocks held in a registered London Metal Exchange warehouse. London Metal Exchange stocks are published weekly. Stocks, incidentally, are not owned by the London Metal Exchange, but rather by those who own the warrants at that time.
Stoploss - orders- buying, triggered at a previously fixed loss stop.
Stoploss Selling - Sale, triggered at a previously fixed loss stop.
Strong or very strong - A strong or very strong market indicates a sustained and rapid upward movement.
Switching - In the parlance of the London Metal Exchange, this means the exchange of metals from one warehouse to another. For example, from Hamburg to Rotterdam, etc. However, it is also understood to mean the postponement of a position to a later forward month.
Taker - Buyer of an option.
Technical position - Refers to the characteristic of a market without being able to objectively explain the outcome. In a sold-out and fixed market, one says that the technical position is strong. On the other hand, in a "bought" market, the technical position is said to be weak. The latter is based on the fact that heavy speculative buying has driven prices to a point beyond which no rise can be expected on the basis of the news at hand, so that in all probability a price fall is imminent.
Term - buy or sell for time. On the LME up to 15 months, on the Comex up to 23 months.
Termination of waste properties - When recovery has been successfully completed and a secondary raw material, i.e. a product, has been created. When the waste is firmly attached to immovable property (e.g. soil or landfill) in connection with its use and is therefore no longer movable property. More detailed information and further explanations on this topical issue are available from the environmental advisory service of your competent chamber of commerce and industry.
Unofficial Market - Unofficial afternoon market without settlement quotation.
Warehouses - There are London Metal Exchange warehouses - apart from the UK - in Hamburg, Bremen, Rotterdam, Dunkirk, Trieste, Amsterdam, Singapore, Antwerp, Genoa, Helsingborg and Gothenburg. For silver, warehouses are authorised in London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Brussels, Gothenburg and Frankfurt.
Warehouse Receipt - Document evidencing receipt by a carrier of goods listed on the receipt. To be acceptable under a forward contract, warehouse receipts must be provable receipts for goods stored in warehouses recognised for delivery purposes by the exchange on which the relevant forward contracts are traded.
Warrant - Stock exchange warehouse warrant for a certain amount of metal in a named stock exchange warehouse.
Weak - Weak market - indicates declining prices.
Waste disposal - includes the provision, transfer, collection, transport, treatment, storage and tipping of waste.
Waste prevention - is the priority reduction of the quantity and harmfulness of waste. Everyone who develops, manufactures, processes or distributes products is obliged to prevent waste.
Waste recovery - includes the recovery of raw materials and the utilisation of the material or energetic properties of waste as the main purpose of the measure. The disposal of the pollutant potential must be of secondary importance.
Waste requiring monitoring - Waste requiring special monitoring for recovery must be reported. The recovery processes are listed in the beginning of II B of the KrW-/AbfG.
Waste recovery requirement - recovery has priority over disposal if this is also possible with the acceptance of possible pre-treatment, if this is economically reasonable, i.e. if recovery is not disproportionately more expensive than waste disposal, if a market for the recovered substance exists or can be created, if recovery is more environmentally compatible than disposal.
Aluminium - Aluminium is a base metal. It is never found in pure form in nature, but always bound to oxygen. These are essentially oxides of the form Al2O3. However, it is ubiquitous and the most important element of the III. main group in the periodic table. Al accounts for 8 % of the earth's crust. Only oxygen and silicon are more abundant. The pure aluminium metal has a face-centred cubic lattice structure, is light, silvery and strongly electropositive. Furthermore, it is very reactive. For example, aluminium powder reacts spontaneously when exposed to air.
Aluminium properties - The most important property of aluminium is its low density-weight ratio of 2.7 g/cm³ (compare iron: 7.86 g/cm³). This puts aluminium in 4th place among the lightest metals after lithium, beryllium and magnesium. However, aluminium is not only light, but also has a high strength. The resulting weight savings make aluminium very interesting for economic reasons. Another positive character is that the durability is very high due to the natural oxide layer. The metal is mainly used in the automotive, aerospace, wagon construction and building industries. Other important properties are its thermal and electrical capabilities, which are almost two-thirds those of copper. Aluminium is also a frequently used metal in the packaging industry due to its easy formability and good compatibility with foodstuffs. The low melting point of aluminium and the associated low energy consumption is another essential aspect in recycling.
Alloy compositions - Aluminium can be alloyed very well with other metals. It is therefore not surprising that today there are a large number of alloys which are differentiated according to the following criteria:
- Materials according to DIN
- Non-standardised German casting materials
- Materials according to material performance sheets
- Materials according to the International Alloy Register and the AA List Casting Alloys
- Materials for automotive engineering
- Bearing and sinter materials
- Comparisons of international material designations
- Comparisons of condition designations
The alloy is structured in such a way that the main element (here: Al) is listed first, followed by all other elements in descending order (here: Mn and Mg) with their percentages.
Bauxit - The best-known aluminium ore is probably bauxite. The second most abundant material on earth after silicon, bauxite is a product of weathered limestone and silicate rock formed by warm climatic influences. The highest aluminium oxide concentration is found in bauxite. This sedimentary rock consists of 40 - 60 % aluminium oxide, 5 - 30 % iron oxide and 1 - 15 % silicon oxide. Bauxite is mainly mined in opencast mines. From 4 t of bauxite, 2 t of alumina are extracted, from which 1 t of aluminium is then smelted. The most important mining areas are in countries of the tropical belt, such as Australia, New Guinea, Jamaica and Brazil. Other mining areas are China, West Africa and India. The name bauxite is derived from the French town of Les Baux in Provence (southern France), where it was first mined. Bauxite owes its reddish colour to iron oxide.
Biological significance - Although aluminium oxide is the third most common material on earth, it does not seem to have a major biological function. There have been experiments in which the growth of some plants was favoured by the addition of low concentrations of aluminium, but in humans it has no major significance. This can be seen from the fact that about 60 mg of aluminium can be detected in a human with a body weight of 70 kg. The toxic dose is 5 g. The MAK value in Germany for aluminium fine dust as metal, metal oxide and metal hydroxide was set at 6 mg/m³. Other aluminium minerals, such as potassium mica, sodium feldspar, cryolite or alumina can be detected in seawater in concentrations of 5 ppb with strong fluctuations. In river water, however, concentrations as high as 400 ppb can be found.
Chemical data -
Property // Data
Chemical abbreviation: Al
Brief description: Alu
Density: 2.70 g / cm³
Melting point: 660.5 °C
Boiling point: 2,467 °C
Real atomic mass: 26.981539
Half-life Al-26: 716,000 years, Al-23: 470 millisec.
Oxidation number: 3
Atomic number: 13
Atomic radius: 143.1 pm
Ion radius: 57 pm (+3)
Configuration: [Ne] 3s² 3p
Ionisation energy: 5.986 eV
Mechanical properties: Soft, ductile
Foils: Up to 0.004 mm
Standard potential: -1.66/-2.33 volts
Oxide layer: 5 nm, firmly adhering
Alloyability: Very good
- with light metals: with Ti, Mg
- with heavy metals: ur with Cu
Electrical conductivity (related to Cu): 63 - 65
Thermal conductivity (related to Cu): 60 %.
Weldability: Only under exclusion of air
Corrosion - Corrosion occurs when strong acids or alkalis attack the oxide layer. Corrosion can be recognised by a white layer that is very difficult or impossible to remove.
Energy consumption - In primary production, the electricity consumption for 1 t of aluminium is approx. 14,000 kW/h, but in secondary production it is only approx. 800 kW/h. Nowadays, most of the energy needed for aluminium in the western world is covered by hydropower.
ELOXAL - Technically, the natural oxide layer can be further strengthened with the help of the electrolytic process. The electrolyte is usually an aqueous solution of sulphuric, oxalic or chromic acid and some auxiliary substances. This process is also called anodising. If dyes are added to the electrolytic solution, the coatings become coloured. The today most used artificial word "ELOXAL" was formed from the first letters of the words "electrical oxidation of aluminium".
Extraction of alumina - It all starts with the mining of bauxite rock in opencast mines, similar to lignite. The bauxite rock is first crushed. The crushed bauxite is then dried in an alumina plant, ground and dissolved in caustic soda. The resulting caustic soda is filtered and dewatered. What remains is the extracted aluminium oxide (alumina). The remaining "red mud" is stored in landfills.
Environmental protection - Technical and biological-ecological environmental protection is one of the highest requirements in the recycling sector. Technical environmental protection includes all technical measures on auxiliary and operating materials as well as on production facilities that serve to protect the environment. Furthermore, in addition to the general requirements, many metal processing plants are working on new environmental protection techniques and systems in order to prevent the contamination of water and air as well as the animal and plant world.
Further processing production technology - Further processing takes place in an aluminium smelter. A major drawback is the alumina's melting point of 2,045 °C, which makes it difficult to produce economically. But it was not until Paul-Louis Toussaint Héroult and Charles M. Hall mixed alumina with cryolite that economic mass production became possible (Hall-Héroult process or fused-salt electolysis). For the production of primary aluminium, they simply lowered the melting point to around 1,000 °C by mixing alumina with cryolite. Cryolite is a mixture of sodium, aluminium and fluorine (Na3AlF6).
By adding direct current (150,000 amps) using carbon anode and cathode material, this mixture is broken down into oxygen and aluminium at 960 °C.
The aluminium settles at the bottom in the electrolysis tank and is then pumped out via special suction devices. The Hall-Héroult process is still a common production method for aluminium today. The purity level for industrial ingots is 99.5 %, but it can be refined to 99.99 %.
History of aluminium - In 1754, the German chemist Marggraf discovered a new earth, which he called alumina, in the alumina rock that had been known for thousands of years. As is known today, this earth is aluminium oxide (Al2O3). Marggraf also succeeded in extracting alumina from alum at that time. Alum stone is a potassium aluminium sulphate which was used, for example, in ancient times to process wool and linen in spinning, weaving and dyeing mills. In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy tried to isolate aluminium from alumina with the help of electrochemical experiments. Unfortunately, he did not succeed. It was not until 17 years later, in 1825, that the Danish chemist Hans Christian Ørsted succeeded in synthesising aluminium for the first time, and in a still highly contaminated form. In 1827, Prof. Friedrich Wöhler from Berlin attempted this synthesis, using the same principle as his Danish colleague. He succeeded in producing the first small flakes and, in 1836, larger coherent masses of aluminium. Furthermore, it was he who determined the relative density of aluminium. But it was not until 1854 that the German chemist Robert Bunsen and the Frenchman Henri Sainte-Claire Deville, independently of each other, were able to produce the metal with a high degree of purity with the help of electrolysis. In 1855, Deville, with the financial support of Napoleon III, presented pure aluminium for the first time to the astonished public at the Paris World's Fair. From 1855 onwards, aluminium was used according to Deville's process until 1886, when the American Charles M. Hall and the Frenchman Paul-Louis Toussaint Héroult presented a cheaper method of production. They independently discovered that aluminium oxide (alumina) dissolved in molten cryolite (Na3AlF6) and could be electrolytically separated into a crude molten metal and by-products. This paved the way for the large-scale industrial use of the light metal (see also: The production technology of further processing).
Oxide layer - A very good and natural aluminium property is the oxide layer. This layer is so thin that it is hardly visible (5 nm, firmly adhering). This layer develops in combination with air and protects the metal from corrosion. The aluminium oxide is amphoteric, i.e. it has acidic as well as basic properties. Because this oxide layer is not conductive, it can only be detected with the help of electric current. Unlike rust, the oxide layer does not flake off.
Production volumes - The annual production volume of aluminium is between 20 - 25 million tonnes worldwide. In the Federal Republic of Germany, well over one million tonnes of the light metal is processed annually, of which about 30 % is recycled.
Recycling - Almost one third of all aluminium consumption is covered by recycling, whereby remelting requires only 5 % of the energy used for primary production.
Therefore, in times of environmental protection, resource conservation and energy saving, the recycling of aluminium has grown to become an important economic factor. Today's tasks of classical recycling have become much more extensive than they were ten years ago. Higher quality requirements and environmental regulations demand ever more precise systems and economical techniques. Production plants also have to be constantly adapted to the constant growth in the recycling sector in order to meet the high demand of secondary smelters and ultimately consumption.
Use - Due to its many positive properties, aluminium has become an indispensable metal in almost all areas of life. The advantage lies in the fact that energy raw materials are conserved and the environment is relieved of pollutants. The associated economic advantages are relevant for the following industrial sectors.
- Automotive industry
- Aviation industry
- Shipping industry
- Aerospace industry
- Energy industry
- Wagon building industry
- Leisure industry
- Window industry
- Packaging industry
- Electrical industry
- Household goods industry
- Transport industry
- Printing industry
- Apparatus and container construction
- Metal goods industry
- Transport industry
- Iron and steel industry
World reserves -The world reserves of aluminium are now estimated at 10 - 25 billion tonnes. About 40 % of the bauxite ores are located in Guinea, Ghana and Sierra Leone. The bauxite reserves are estimated at a total of about 140 billion tonnes. The extraction volume is about 100 mill. t per year.