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Sergey Venezky
STORIES ON METALS

ALUMINUM

SILVER CLAY

Tiberius eliminates the risk. - Luxurious camisole Emperor. -Sensation of the Paris exhibition. - Banquet in the Palace. - Ambitious project. - Medal, decided the dispute. - All aluminium and aluminium. - As if agreed. - Riddles Chinese tombs. - The vision of the engineer. - Vilm not believe his eyes. - "Stack" passed from the scene. - On the snow-covered fields. - Exhibit changes the passport. - There is a silver lining. - Echo" reflects the signals. - "Aluminaut" plunges into the abyss. - Between Moscow and Leningrad. - "The Church of the Holy Aluminium. - Will there be a beer bar? - On the clock and in the chest. - Sing, guitar! - Blanket in case. - Instead Of The Moon. - How are you doing on Mars? - Aluminum ... garbage.

The ancient historian Pliny the Elder tells about an interesting event that happened almost two thousand years ago. Once to the Roman Emperor Tiberius came the stranger. A gift to the Emperor, he gave made them a bowl of shiny as silver, but extremely light metal. Master told me that this obscure metal he managed to get out of the clay of the earth. Must have a sense of gratitude rarely burdened Tiberius, and the ruler he was short-sighted. Fearing that the new metal with its wonderful properties will erode the value stored in the Treasury of gold and silver, he ordered to cut off the inventor of the head, and his shop to destroy, to anyone not want to continue to produce hazardous metal.

True story or legend - hard to say. But one way or another "danger" has passed and, unfortunately, for a long time. Only in the XVI century, i.e. after about fifteen hundred years in the history of the aluminum was to write a new page. Did this talented German physician and naturalist Philip Aureol Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, known in history under the pseudonym of Paracelsus. Exploring the various substances and minerals, including alum, scientists have found that they have some salt aluminous earth", which includes an oxide of an unknown metal, subsequently called alumina.

Alum, interested Paracelsus, were known since ancient times. According to Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the V century BC, ancient peoples used in the dyeing of fabrics to consolidate their color mineral rock, which they called "lumen", i.e. the "pungent". This breed were alum.

About the VIII - IX centuries include the first mention of the manufacture of alum in Ancient Russia, where they are also used for dyeing and cooking of Morocco leather. In the middle ages in Europe were several factories for the production of alum.

In 1754, a German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf were able to identify "aluminous earth", which for two centuries previously wrote Paracelsus. It took another few decades before the Englishman, Gemini Davy tried to get the metal lurking in the alum. In 1807 he succeeded by electrolysis of alkali open sodium and potassium, but decomposed by an electric current alumina he failed. A similar attempt was made a few years later the Swede Jens Jakob Berzelius, but his work did not succeed. Despite this, the scientists decided to give resistant metal name: first Berzelius called him alumium, and then Davy has alumi on aluminum.

First, who managed, like the unknown master of Ancient Rome, to obtain aluminum metal, was a Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted. In 1825, in one of the chemical journals he published his article, in which he wrote that as a result of the performed experiments was formed piece of metal, the color and luster is somewhat similar to the tin". However, the magazine was not very well known, and the message Oersted went almost unnoticed in the scientific world. Yes the scientist himself, absorbed in work on electromagnetism, did not give his discovery of great importance.
Two years later in Copenhagen to Oersted came a young but already famous German chemist Friedrich wöhler. OE told him that he was not going to continue the experimental production of aluminum. Back in Germany, wöhler immediately deal with this issue, very interesting, and at the end of 1827 he published his method of obtaining a new metal. However, wöhler's method allowed us to extract aluminium only in the form of grains with the size not more than a pinhead, but the scientist continued his experiments until then, until he managed, finally, to develop a method of producing aluminum in the form of a compact mass. It took him ... eighteen years.

By the time the new metal has already gained popularity and because it received it in tiny quantities, prices were higher than prices for gold, and to get it was not a simple matter.

No wonder that when one of the European monarchs acquired for personal use with aluminum buttons, he started down to gaze at other rulers whom such luxury is not affordable. The same had no choice but to envy the happy possessor of a rare buttons and with a quiet sadness to wait for better times.

To their great joy they had to wait for long: in 1855, at the world exhibition in Paris exhibited "silver clay", caused a great sensation. These were plates and ingots of aluminum, which has managed to get the French scientist and industrialist Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville.

The appearance of these items were preceded by the following events. The Emperor of France at that time was Napoleon III's "the little nephew of the great uncle", as they called it then. Big fan to throw dust in the eyes, he made one Banquet, at which members of the Royal family and the most honoured guests were honored include aluminum spoons and forks. Guests simpler had to use the usual (for Imperial banquets, of course) gold and silver instruments. Of course, it was a shame to tears, and the piece didn't interfere in the throat, but what can you do if even the Emperor could not then provide each guest with aluminum needs. When fate gave the French monarch crown Prince, happy dad on the joys ordered a court jeweler luxury rattle of aluminum, gold and precious stones.

Soon the head of Napoleon III matured ambitious project that promised glory and honor, but, more importantly, had to force the rulers of other countries green with envy: the Emperor decided to supply the soldiers of his army armour made of aluminium. He gave St. Clair the Deville major funds, so he found a method of producing aluminum in large quantities. Sainte-Claire Deville, putting the basis of their experiments wöhler's method, was able to develop the technology, but the metal is received, continued to be very expensive. That is why the French soldiers never had a chance to try the promised armor, but his personal guard of the Emperor taken care of: his bodyguards began to flaunt new aluminum cuirasses (lats). Getting Sainte-Claire Deville pure aluminium Bonapartist circles of France tried to use to blow nationalist frenzy: they are everywhere trumpeted supposedly French priority in the discovery of this metal. To honor the Saint-Claire Deville he reacted to these "home", like a real scientist, and also quite original: aluminium own production, he minted a medal with a portrait of Friedrich wöhler's and the date "1827", and sent it as a gift, a German scientist.

To this period belongs the emergence of "silver Deville" exhibited at the world exhibition. May be, its organizers and took the aluminum to metals consumer, but, alas, it has not become more affordable. However, already then advanced people understood that buttons and cuirass is only a small episode in the activity of aluminum. First saw aluminum products, N. G. Chernyshevsky enthusiastically said: "This metal is destined to a great future! In front of you, friends, metal socialism". In his novel "What to do?" published in 1863, there are the following lines: "...What light the internal architecture of this house, who have small spaces between the Windows - the Windows of a huge, wide, full-height floors... But what are these floors and ceilings? What these doors and window frames? What is it? Silver? Platinum?... Ah, I know now, Sasha showed me such a plate, it was easy as glass, and now there are earrings, brooches; Yes, Sasha said that sooner or later the aluminum will replace the tree, may be a stone. But how does all this richly. Everywhere aluminium and aluminium... Here in this room half the floor is open here and see what he made of aluminium...".
But when he wrote these prophetic lines, aluminum, remained mainly jewelry metal. Interestingly, even in 1889, when DI Mendeleev was in London, he was in recognition of his outstanding merits in the development of chemistry was presented with a gift of scales, made of gold and aluminum.

Sainte-Claire Deville was very active. In the town of La glacier, he built the world's first aluminium smelter. However, in the smelting process plant was lots of harmful gases that pollute the atmosphere La Glacier. Local residents valued their health, did not want to sacrifice them for the sake of technical progress and complained to the government. The plant had to be moved first in a suburb of Paris, and later to the South of France.

However, by this time, many scientists have become clear that, despite all efforts Sainte-Claire Deville, his method has no prospects. Chemists from different countries continued the search. In 1865 the Russian scientist N. Beketov suggested an interesting way, which quickly found use on aluminum factories in France and Germany.

An important milestone in the history of aluminum became 1886, when independently of each American Charles Martin Hall and Frenchman Paul Louis Toussaint Era has developed an electrolytic method for the production of this metal (History of science and technology knows many examples when two scientists in the same year was able to come to the same conclusions or discoveries. This match is "compounded" by Hall and Heroult born in 1863 and died in both of the inventor, as if in collusion, in 1914.). The idea was not new: in 1854 the German scientist Bunsen suggested obtaining aluminium by the electrolysis of salts. But it took more than thirty years before this idea gained practical embodiment. Because electrolytic method required large amounts of energy, Europe's first plant for the production of aluminum by electrolysis was built in Neuhausen (Switzerland) near the Rhine falls - cheap power source.

And today, after a century, without electrolysis unthinkable getting aluminum. This circumstance forces scientists to puzzle over very mysterious fact. In China, there is the tomb of the famous commander Zhou Zhu, who died at the beginning of the third century. Recently some elements of the ornament of the tomb were subjected to spectral analysis. The result was so unexpected that the analysis had to be repeated. And every time unbiased range irrefutable witness to the fact that the alloy from which the ancient masters made ornament, contains 85% aluminum. But in what way managed to get in the III century, this metal?

As with electricity man then was a sign except by lightning, and they are unlikely to have agreed to take part in the electrolytic process. Therefore, it is necessary to assume that in those days there was some other way of getting aluminium, unfortunately, lost in the centuries.

By the end of the last century aluminium production has increased dramatically and, as a consequence, significantly reduced prices for this metal, not so long ago considered precious. Of course, for jewelers, he did not present any interest, but soon attracted the attention of the industrial world, was in anticipation of the big event: began to flourish engineering, was on his feet, the automotive industry and, more importantly, so had to take the first steps aviation, where the aluminum had to play a crucial role. In 1893 in Moscow published a book engineer N. Zhukov "Aluminum and metallurgy, in which the author wrote: "Aluminum is intended to occupy a prominent place in the technique and to replace, if not all, then many of the common metals...". For this assertion has merit: it had already been known remarkable properties of silver from clay." Aluminum is one of the lightest metals: it is about three times lighter than copper or iron. Thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity, it is second only to silver, gold and copper. In normal circumstances, this metal has sufficient chemical resistance. High ductility aluminum allows you to roll it in foil with a thickness of several microns, pulling subtle as a spider's web, wire; at a length of 1000 metres and it weighs only 27 grams and fits into a matchbox. And only the strength characteristics of aluminum leaves much to be desired. This circumstance prompted scientists to think about how to make the metal stronger, retaining all of its useful features. It has long been known that the strength of many alloys are often much higher than the pure metals in their composition. That's why metallurgists and began to search for such companions for aluminum, which, joining with him in the Union, would have helped him to become stronger. Soon came the success. As has often happened in the history of science, hardly a decisive role in this was played by accidental circumstances. However, will tell you all about it. Once (it was in the beginning of XX century) German chemist and Metallurgist Alfred Wilm prepared alloy, in which, in addition to aluminum, consisted of various additives: copper, magnesium, manganese. The strength of this alloy was higher than that of pure aluminium, but Vilm felt that the alloy can further strengthen, exposing his hardening. Scientist heated a few samples of the alloy to about 600°C, and then dropped them into the water. Hardening significantly increased the strength of the alloy, but since the results of tests of various samples was heterogeneous, Vilm questioned the health of the instrument and measurement accuracy.

Few days later, the researcher carefully verified the device. Forgotten at the time the samples were laying around on the table, and by the time when the device was ready to go again, they were not only tough, but also dusty. Vilm continued testing and could not believe his eyes: the device showed that the strength of the samples increased almost twice.

Again and again he repeated the scientist experiences and each time I was convinced that his alloy after quenching continues in the next days to become stronger and stronger. It was revealed an interesting phenomenon is the natural aging of aluminum alloys after quenching.

Himself Vilm didn't know what was happening with the metal in the aging process, but selecting the empirically optimal composition of the alloy and the heat treatment he received a patent, and soon sold it to a German firm, which in 1911, has produced the first batch of a new alloy called duralumin (düren city, where it was launched the industrial production of alloy). Later this alloy were called duraluminum.

In 1919, the first aircraft from duralumin. Since aluminum has forever linked their fate with aviation. He has rightfully earned the reputation of "winged metal", making primitive wooden "stack" in a giant air ships. But in those years it still wasn't enough, and a lot of planes, mainly light types, continued manufacturing of wood.

In our country the production of aluminum alloys was then only Kolchugino plant for machining non-ferrous metals, which is produced in small quantities kolchougaluminium - alloy, composition and properties similar to duraluminum. This alloy young AN aircraft. Tupolev made the first snowmobiles, which were successfully tested in the vast snow-covered fields. After this preliminary test the kolchougaluminium was up in the air: in 1924, it was built the first Soviet metal plane ANT-2".

On the agenda was the issue of creating a powerful aluminium industry. In early 1929 in Leningrad plant "Krasny Vyborzhets conducted experiments to obtain aluminum. Led by P.P. Fedotiev - scientist, whose name is associated with many pages of history "winged metal". 27 March 1929 managed to get the first 8 pounds of metal. "This moment, " wrote subsequently Fedotiev, can be considered the emergence of aluminium production in the USSR on the Volkhov energy and entirely out of materials of your own cooking". In Leningrad print was noted then that "first ingot of aluminum, representing historical value, should be preserved as a monument to one of the biggest achievements of Soviet technology." Samples of aluminum obtained in the future on "Red Plant", and its products were donated by the workers of Leningrad V all-Union Congress of Soviets.

Successful industrial experiments allowed us to start the construction of the Volkhov and the Dnieper aluminium smelters. In 1932 came into operation the first of them, and a year later the second.

In the same period, significant natural reserves of aluminum ores were discovered in the Urals. An interesting history of their discovery. In 1931, a young geologist N.A. Karzhavin in the Museum one of the Ural mines drew attention to the exhibit, which was considered iron ore with low iron content. Geologist was struck by the similarity of this model with bauxite and clay rocks rich in aluminum. Subjecting the mineral analysis, he found that "poor iron ore is the perfect aluminum raw material. Where was found in this sample began prospecting, which was soon crowned with success. On the basis of the discovered deposits was built Urals aluminium smelter, and a few years later (in the war) - the Theological, which issued its first products in a historic Victory Day - may 9, 1945.

Interestingly, in the years of the second world war, when some of the warring States experienced a shortage of bauxite - the main aluminum raw material, for example, Italy received aluminum... lava of Vesuvius. About the same time rich deposits of bauxite were discovered on the island of Jamaica, and this happened with a rather amusing circumstances. One of the residents of the island have decided to breed tomatoes. Landed on his plantation seedlings and waited for the harvest. But there it was: all the seedlings have withered and quickly died. Retry ended for the fan of tomatoes so badly. Bitterly complaining about the apparent injustice on the part of fortune, the hapless vegetable grower decided to get to the causes of failure and sent a sample of his not too rich soil for analysis in one of the laboratories of the USA with a request to explain why it does not grow tomatoes. The answer was not long in coming. Its meaning was as follows: "What are the tomatoes can give birth to the earth, consisting of 99% of bauxite?" It's only been a few years, and on the lands of Jamaica instead of tomatoes increased mining companies, products which does today on plants in many countries, producing aluminum.

The demand for this metal is constantly growing. The main customer of the aluminium industry remains aviation: aluminum occupies the first place among the metals used in aircraft construction. With space exploration "winged metal" has found fans among designers of rocket technology. Of aluminium alloys was performed in the casing of the first Soviet artificial Earth satellite. In 1960, the U.S. launched Sputnik "Echo-1", designed to reflect radio signals. It was huge, with a diameter of 30 meters, ball, made of a polymer film coated with a thin layer of aluminum. Despite its size, the satellite weighed only 60 pounds. Aluminum alloys that run reliably in a wide temperature range from absolute zero to 200°C, were selected as the structural material for tanks with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to the American Saturn rocket.

Foil of pure aluminum was fluorescent screen mounted on one of the satellites to study emitted by the Sun of charged particles. When American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon, they spread out on its surface sheet of the same film: within two hours, she was exposed to the gases emitted by the Sun. Leaving the moon, the astronauts took with him the foil and samples of lunar rocks, which they Packed in special aluminum box. Aluminum is involved in mastering not only the cosmic heights, and sea depths. In the United States was established Oceanographic submarine "Aluminaut", which can dive to a depth of 4600 meters. New in-depth ship is not built of steel, as usual, and aluminum.

Welcome it and transport. In our country completed work on the creation of the railway superexpress, which began to run between Moscow and Leningrad. His form this train is reminiscent of the fuselage of a modern airplane, and he rushes with the speed of flying "Tu": on some parts of its speed reaches 200 km / h. The designers proposed to manufacture cars of the Express of aluminum alloy. Experienced body passed strict tests: it was pressed with great force, were subjected to severe vibration shaking and other "executions", but the all metal stand. And now light blue composition rushing through our vast expanses.

Aluminum without work will not go...

Aluminum has high corrosion resistance. He obliged the thinnest film that occurs on its surface and is further armour that protects the metal from oxygen. Without this film-armor, aluminum flashed even in the air and burned dazzling flame. Saving the shell allows the aluminum parts to serve tens of years even so harmful to the health of the metals industry, chemical industry.

Scientists have found that aluminum has another advantage: it does not destroy the vitamins. So it manufactures equipment for the oil, sugar, confectionery, brewing industry. It is no coincidence that the aluminium tubes are sent into space a variety of tasty dishes and fruit juices included in the diet of astronauts. Yes and on the Earth, this metal has already received an invitation for a permanent job in the canning industry, where he successfully replaces the traditional white sheet.

Strong position won aluminum and construction. In 1890 one of the American cities, it was first applied in the construction of residential homes. After several decades all aluminum parts were in excellent condition. The first aluminum roof, delivered at the end of the last century, is no repair to this day.

On the territory of the Moscow Kremlin from aluminum and plastics built the magnificent Palace of congresses. At the world exhibition in Brussels from glass and aluminum was built amazing beauty of the pavilion of the Soviet Union. Bridges, buildings, hydraulic engineering facilities, hangars everywhere finds the application of the wonderful light metal. In West Berlin built the Church in ultra-modern style with cast aluminum gates. Local wags call it so, "the Church of the Holy Aluminium. Rumor has it, though from the same metal power Rhodes intend to build a copy of the colossus of Rhodes, decorating in the III century B.C. the entrance to the Harbor on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean sea. Project inside the head of the revived wonder of the world is scheduled to mark up... beer bar.

An important field of application of aluminum - electrical industry. It makes wires of high-voltage transmission lines, the windings of electric motors and transformers, cables, sockets lamps, capacitors and many other products.

In the metallurgy of aluminum has long been successfully used as a deoxidizer to remove from steel oxygen. Aluminum grains is the main component of thermite mixtures used in aluminothermic producing many alloys.

Even to list all the areas of activity of this truly universal metal to need more than a dozen pages of the book. We will mention only the most interesting of them. So, cast aluminum manufactured in massive numbers on the greatest hour of our country decorating the building of Moscow state University. Polyurethane and aluminum was the material for the first artificial human heart: after the operation, carried out in 1982 it in a few months "fought" in the chest of American Barney Clark. As experts suggest, aluminum wheels without protectors installed on cigar-shaped car with a jet engine, allowed the British engineer Richard Noble to become in 1983, the holder of the world speed record on land - 1019,7 kilometers per hour.

Aluminum today - ships and yachts, portable road to the marshland and folding summer trails for training skiers, violin and guitar, not inferior in sound wooden instruments, tennis rackets and eternal Wallpaper, car engines and even... tank armor. "Winged metal" can be found in the collections of philatelists: in 1955 in Hungary with the twentieth anniversary of the aluminium industry of this country was released unusual postage stamp, printed on aluminum foil of a thickness of 0.009 mm. The picture on the stamp depicts aluminum plant and flying the plane. Later, the same mark appeared in other countries.

A remarkable property has aluminized fabric: it is good and warm, and cool. The curtains on the Windows of the fabrics, if they are to hang the metal out, miss the light rays, but will reflect the heat on a hot summer's day in the room will be cool. In winter, the curtains should turn; then they will return warmth to the room. In the cloak of this fabric can not be afraid nor heat nor cold. To escape from the scorching sun, the coat will need to wear a metal outward. If the weather turns cool - turn it inside out, and the metal returns warmth to your body. In Czechoslovakia produced a very convenient aluminized blanket, which is equally good and warm and cool areas. Besides, they weigh only 55 grams and collapsed easily fit in a case no larger than a regular cigarette case. There is no doubt that geologists, tourists, fishermen - in short, all those who scorches the sun and fanned by winds, will appreciate jackets and tents of this fabric. In hot edges of the large demand for "aluminum" skullcaps, Panama, bathrobes, umbrellas. Metallized clothes will make a profession of steelmaker less hot. Help it and fire their heavy fire-fighting.

The thinnest aluminum foil covered with a multi-ton six-meter mirror of the world's largest telescope, created in the USSR; this farsighted "eyes"are facing in the depths of the Universe able to see the light of conventional candles at a distance of 25 thousand kilometers. And American scientists have proposed to use for night lighting of cities giant mirror from plastic with aluminum coating: delivered transport-governmental spacecraft in a stationary orbit and managed by computer, Maxi mirrors will reflect the sunlight in tens times more than it does now at night the Moon.

Gold plated aluminum plate went on a long journey on Board the American interplanetary space station "pioneer 2": this business card Land engraved symbolic image that will tell the representatives of other civilizations on our planet.

Aluminum from wasteIn recent years, scientists and engineers pay much attention to the creation of entirely new materials - foam materials. The technology is already in receipt of penelopina the first in this wonderful collection. The new material is extremely light: 1 cubic centimeter of some species of penelopina weighs less than 0.2 grams. Tube, always served as a benchmark for lightness, unable to compete with this material: it is 25-30 % heavier. After peraluminous appeared proberally, penutian and many other amazing materials.

...Famous English science fiction writer H.G. wells in his novel "war of the worlds, created at the turn of XIX and XX centuries, describes the machine with which the Martians made aluminum: "From sunset until the stars appeared this dexterous machine made not less than one hundred strips of aluminum directly from clay."

One of the American researchers of the cosmos in those years, when our acquaintance with the Moon was only visual, proposed an interesting hypothesis. The scientist believed that each hectare of the surface of the moon can be found up to a hundred tons of pure aluminum. He expressed concern that the Moon is like a giant natural plant, in which the so-called "solar wind" (flux radiated by the Sun protons) turns iron ore, magnesium, aluminum in pure metals. While this hypothesis was not confirmed, however, as shown by the analysis of samples of lunar soil, delivered by American astronauts and Soviet automatic stations, the content of aluminum oxide is quite high. And still some truth in the reasoning of the scientist, apparently, is: in a sample of lunar soil, taken by automatic station "Luna-20" in the continental part of our satellite - between the Sea of Crises and the Sea of Abundance, were found three tiny grains of native aluminum size in tenths of a millimeter (in earthly terms of natural pure aluminum even in such a tiny form not find, as they say, the day the fire).

Therefore, we can assume that on Mars and on the moon "aluminum problem solved. But as is the case on Earth? Well, perhaps here and all is well. Although on our planet do not yet have machines like those on Mars, and on the surface of the aluminum is not lying tons, yet the people are complaining sin: the nature has generously made sure that people did not need in this wonderful metal. The content in the earth's crust, aluminium is second only to oxygen and silicon, significantly outperforming all metals.

Nature is rich, but people should be lean master her gifts. There are many projects and existing installations for the extraction of valuable components from waste going to municipal landfills. In plants, in particular, provided the original electromagnetic device for the "production" of waste aluminum. But because the magnetic field does not act on the aluminum? As with its help it is possible to extract this metal? It turns out that if you bring in an aluminum object of alternating current, moving it into a corresponding electric field, the metal for some time is magnetized. In this state, and he falls into the hands of the magnets.

Thus, the aluminum raw material we provided. Create original units, to improve methods of obtaining "winged metal", to find him a new field of application is the responsibility of engineers and scientists.

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