The following stage is the development into pure aluminium. The electrolytic cell in alumina has carbon anodes (where the carbon dioxide is formed) and a carbon cathode cell where the aluminium is made.
The aluminium made is heavier and thicker than the molten alumina, and sinks to the bottom of the cell. Pure aluminium can be used in different methods to produce several varieties of products.
Here is a diagram of electrolysis tank where both the cathode and the anode are formed out of graphite.
Aluminium is a very grand recourse in our daily lives, considering that several of the items, products and materials that we use and abuse of are made of it. Recycling is the best way to save alternatives that are useful to us human beings, and save our environment. Much like many other materials, aluminium can be recycled constantly; not only pots and cans of aluminium, but also window frames, furniture, and other mechanisms. The best advantage of recycling aluminium is that while being recycling repeatedly, it does not lose or change any of the properties it has, nor does it gain. By recycling 1kg of aluminium, 8kg are of bauxite, 4kg of chemicals, and 14kw electricity are saved.
There are three steps to recycle aluminium:
- Separation: A facility makes sure that a current is used to persuade an effect in the cans. Since aluminium does not contain iron, aluminium is not magnetic. Then the aluminium will be passed through large magnets to take out any strong metal.
- Bailing: In this second stage, the cans are moulded into the formation of big blocks- these are called bales and transported.
- Melting: To change the state of aluminium from solid to liquid, you must heat it until 700ºC. It is sent into the ingots, spread inside the rolling mills where they are milled.
Facts about aluminium and recycling:
- Over 60% of all aluminium drink cans were sold in 1996.
- Over 5 billion aluminium cans were sold globally in 1997.
- 5.4 billion Aluminium dink cans were sold in the UK, 1996.
- Only 2% of aluminium used cans were recycled in 1989.
- For the development of alu-can recycling, the aluminium industry has provided over 60 million pounds, for the past eighty years.
- Transportation: Aluminium absorbs kinetic energy. So, when there is a vehicle crash consisting a vehicle made up of a large amount of aluminium, an extremely high quantity of the shock is absorbed by the formation. It is a known fact that every tonne of aluminium that is used to substitute a tonne of heavier materials saves 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released out into the air. An estimate of 90% of all trucks and large buses has aluminium substances.
- Aluminium in cooking: Annually, approximately half of the cooking that is sold globally is made of aluminium. Unlike many other metals, aluminium only absorbs 7% of the heat received, leaving 93% of heat to cook the food. It also helps save energy bills.
- Aluminium in packaging: Aluminium is used for protection and preparation to store foods and drinks. This packages are very reliable because that are hygienic, easy to open, and recyclable.
- Aluminium in Rail & Sea transport: The most modern subway cars and ferries are made up of aluminium.
- Aluminium in the air: A space shuttle that was built in the USA is 90% aluminium.
Positive and negative effects of recycling aluminium on the environment:
- By recycling aluminium we save about 95% of the energy that would be used for the next badge of aluminium.
- Recycling aluminium is 100% efficient.
- It saves lots of energy and money.
- Because recycling reduces pollution, by avoiding the first production of aluminium, we are keeping the environment safe from being damaged by the effects of aluminium.
- Over 11 million tonnes of old and new scrap were recycled globally in 1998.
- Conserves raw materials.
- Because it creates less pollution if you recycle, then fewer greenhouse gases are released so not only is the not much of a climate change but neither is there a decrease in the ozone layer.
- As aluminium is being extracted, chemical gases are being let out to the air; green house gases are released.
- Damages on the scenery.
- More unemployment for workers in the aluminium industry.
Here are two images of a regular bauxite mine, before and after.
The positive and negative aspects of aluminium in health:
There is an estimated amount of 35mg of aluminium inside our human body. Out of this 35mg, 50% is in the lungs, a quarter in our bones and soft tissues.
Just because aluminium causes many bad things does not mean that aluminium is, the primary cause of why. The human body is always wanting for little amounts of metal, however, it should not do extremely intake large portions of aluminium because the body will go through failure or respond negatively. Many people need a medical treatment for failures in their kidneys, because they have absorbed too much aluminium, that it shows sign of weakness relating to the pill. The good thing about this is that the damaged kidney can be removed, and the patient can continue living a normal life with just one kidney.
To do this process, a dialysis mechanism is used. In 1997, Evora, the mechanism was washed with some water, and apparently that water contained aluminium. So, when the dialysis mechanism was used on the patients, very large amounts of aluminium escaped to inside they’re bodies and because of this 21 people suffered and died. Nowadays, technology is much more advanced, and so doctors are more aware of the consequences.
Strangely, aluminium is very related to Alzheimer’s disease. This is a chronicle disease, which affects mostly older people. A few of the symptoms are progressive loss of memory, emotional unsteadiness, and daily functions. There was a study of the amount of aluminium in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, in the 1960’s, and it showed that there was a very high amount. In 1995 there was an even deeper study by Task Group, and the study concluded that aluminium does not create any sort of difference to Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, many scientists still thought that this disease was related to Alzheimer’s and it could be cured.
Other health related problems are:
- Loss of memory
- Damage to the central nervous system
The positive and negative effects of recycling aluminium on different cultures and societies:
In several areas around the world, traditional methods are replacing aluminium. This is because aluminium has extremely fundamental properties. An example of this is housing in Alentejo. The doors of the houses are made out of wood; this is a very cultural aspect in Portugal. Aluminium doors are a good substitute for wooden doors since aluminium does not need yearly preservation. This is seems quite practical and an easier way to live life. However, many Portuguese people are against this idea because it goes against their traditions, even if it’s for the better.
The primary production of Aluminium is a negative effect, as I have mentioned before. But in this area is because some citizens would be forced to leave their homes so we could continue bauxite mining. Again, if aluminium were recycled, then the citizens would no longer need to leave their homes, and in the end there would be less costs, less pollution, and more energy.
Morals and Ethics:
Morally and ethically, I believe that we should recycle aluminium in the future. What we are doing now, is taking a pause, and looking ahead to the future and trying to decide what is right. We are extracting aluminium, causing lots of damage to the environment: pollution, damaging crops, damaging seas, climate changes, releasing more greenhouse gases, decreasing ozone layers, etc. We are also causing lots of damage health wise: Alzheimer’s disease, damages in the nervous system, kidney failure, etc.
Ethically, what we should do is recycle. Recycling saves up energy, money, and is good for the environment. The answer is so simple, however so difficult to put into action. I believe that the answer to this question has much to do with perceptive. Each individual has a different point of view, a different way of looking at things, so who should decide whether aluminium should be recycled or not?
If in the future it is decided that aluminium will be recycled, and then what would happen if we found out it was poisonous? Everything that we have created using aluminium would be to waste, and we would have to change it all into another material, just like the Romans did with their pipes.
There are various cultures and traditions, which we have all individually grown up in. Naturally, this will affect our decision. An example of this could be that if my family was very conservative, who lived each day as it comes and only looked at the best of us, and not others, and then naturally I would be against recycling aluminium, because that would be a global benefit. Now, if I came from a very liberal family, who always looked at the future of the world, and cared about the environment, then I would be for recycling aluminium.
Another argument is how humans try to play the role of God – how we use technology to change the nature of science. God didn’t give us wings, nor teach us how to fly, showing us that humans, from origin, were not meant to fly. But what happened when the Wright Brothers invented a plane? Many people were thrilled, and others weren’t. They were thrilled because it was a new source of communication between other countries – it created a better bond with them, making it easier to travel. However, some people aren’t thrilled, because if we didn’t fly by origin, as individuals, then it’s a sign that it’s what God intended us not to do, and it would be like breaking a silent rule. Just like with aluminium, just as the questions arises; it creates a disagreement between perceptive. Some people might think that we are adding too much of an interference of technology to the nature of science – therefore, not letting science take its natural course.
In conclusion, I feel that I have been able to send a message that not everyone feels the same way about aluminium, and it ha everything to do with perceptive. Overall, I think that before coming to a steady conclusion, we should take a look around us, at the cultures, the traditions, the different opinions, the environment, and take in consideration all that will be affected by this decision.
Personally, I think that recycling aluminium is the solution. Despite the disadvantages and the moral and ethical implications, if we recycle it is more environmental-friendly, gives more money, more energy, and more efficiency. Even so, if we were to commence with this decision, there would be many conflicts and strikes with aluminium factory owners, so it shows that no matter what decision we make, we can never be completely impartial, nor can we satisfy everyone’s perceptive.