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In situ availability: abundant
Necessity: useful
Atomic number: 13
Atomic mass: 26.981538
group: 13
period: 3
normal phase: Solid
series: Poor Metals
density: 2.70 g/cm3
melting point: 933.47K,
boiling point: 2792K,
Mg ← Al → Si
Atomic radius (pm): 125
Bohr radius (pm): 118
Covalent radius (pm): 118
Van der Waals radius (pm):
ionic radius (pm): (+3) 54
1st ion potential (eV): 5.99
Electron Configuration
2s2 2p6
3s2 3p1
Electrons Per Shell
2, 8, 3
Electronegativity: 1.61
Electron Affinity: 0.44
Oxidation states: 3
Magnetism: Paramagnetic
Crystal structure: Face centered cubic

Aluminum (British usage Aluminium) is a Poor Metal in group 13. It has a Face centered cubic crystalline structure. This element has a stable isotope of 27

"Aluminum is a comparatively new industrial metal that has been produced in commercial quantities for just over 100 years. It weighs about one-third as much as steel or copper; is malleable, ductile, and easily machined and cast; and has excellent corrosion resistance and durability. Measured either in quantity or value, aluminum's use exceeds that of any other metal except iron, and it is important in virtually all segments of the world economy. Some of the many uses for aluminum are in transportation (automobiles, airplanes, trucks, railcars, marine vessels, etc.), packaging (cans, foil, etc.), construction (windows, doors, siding, etc), consumer durables (appliances, cooking utensils, etc.), electrical transmission lines, machinery, and many other applications."- USGS Aluminum Statistics and Information. [1]

Lunar use

Since there is no evidence of any substantial deposits of copper ore on Luna, substitutes for electrical wiring will be required. Aluminum makes an excellent substitute, being currently used for this purpose in many terrestrial applications. Aluminum is also useful in construction of mirrors for solar collection and reflective coatings for spacecraft, as aluminum is an excellent reflector of both visible and infrared light. Aluminum's high thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance make it useful for the production of heat sinks and heat exchangers, and its high strength and low density make it useful for the production of lightweight components for spacecraft, satellites, and lunar structures.

One difficulty in using aluminum on the Moon is its large increase in length with increasing temperature. The large range of day/night temperatures make this particularly important. Aluminum components in a lunar environment would need to be thermally protected to avoid these effects.[2] Another difficulty in the use of aluminum is that aluminum alloys lack a well defined fatigue limit, meaning they will eventually fail from even small stresses given sufficient time. It is for this reason that titanium is generally favored over aluminum for lightweight load bearing components in terrestrial applications, aluminum being reserved for other, less stressed components.

Aluminum can also be used in locally produced rocket fuel. See In-Situ Propellant Production.

Lunar Aluminum Production

Main article: Lunar Aluminum Production

Lunar Aluminum Production could use an adaptation of the Hall-Héroult or Deville process. Alternatives include ion-sputtering, carbothermal reduction, or an adaptation of the FFC Cambridge Process.

See Also

Electrical Conductors

Lunar Aluminum Production


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