1825 – The first isolation of Aluminium

1825 – The first isolation of Aluminium

As part of our 200 year anniversary we are celebrating significant events and discoveries that have taken place since 1817 – 2017. This week it is 1825 and the first isolation of Aluminium.

Aluminium is one of the richest elements making up 8% of the earth’s crust. You could be forgiven for thinking “if that is the case why did it take so long to be discovered?” Well, this is because aluminium never occurs naturally in a metallic form.

Aluminium is found in most rocks, clay, soil and vegetation combined with oxygen and other elements.

In 1807 an English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy tried with to no avail to produce aluminium by electrolysing a fused mixture of aluminium oxide and potash.

It wasn’t until 1825 that, following on from Davy, the Danish physicist H.C. Oersted managed to produce lumps of aluminium in the form we know it now by heating potassium amalgam with aluminium.

We hope you are enjoying this series? Next week we will be visiting 1826 when Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine.

Authored by: Lee Acton

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