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Aluminum or Aluminium?

Time to Read: 1 m 35s

According to Grammarist.com, the correct name for Element 13 on the Periodic Table can be either “aluminum” or “aluminium.” The silver-ish metallic element, with symbol Al, can be found throughout the Earth’s crust. This lightweight metal has become a highly utilized material for aerospace, automotive, packaging, and many other applications where minimizing weight is key.


So what’s the history behind the aluminum spelling debate? The English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, who had already named several elements, predicted the metal’s existence within the mineral alumina – though he was not the first to isolate it. Apparently, Sir Davy himself caused the confusion, when he first used the name “alumium” in 1808, then later, “aluminum,” and finally “aluminium” in his 1812 book Elements of Chemical Philosophy.


Gradually, over the 19th Century, Canada and the United States settled on aluminum, while the U.K. and the rest of the world called it the more scholarly sounding “aluminium.” The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) now accepts both spellings, though even in North America, several scientific organizations prefer adding the extra letter “i.” Meanwhile, popular publications, such as the New York Times, stick to the American way.


In addition to its light weight, aluminum can be easily machined, is a good conductor of electricity, and is also prized for its corrosion resistance, making it an ideal material for industry and architecture – especially in locations subject to chemical or saltwater exposure.


Industrial Metal Supply carries a variety of aluminum angle and other aluminum shapes, such as tees, I-beam and channel, for use in a wide range of applications, such as scaffolding, ship & building construction, transmission towers, truck trailers, machined parts, and furniture.  


Contact IMS today for more information and to order aluminum shapes.


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