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Science Innovation Centre · 013 · Aluminium

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The name Aluminium is derived from the ancient name for alum (potassium aluminium sulphate), which was alumen (Latin, meaning bitter salt). Aluminium was the original name given to the element by Humphry Davy but others called it aluminium and that became the accepted name in Europe. However, in the USA the preferred name was aluminium and when the American Chemical Society debated on the issue, in 1925, it decided to stick with aluminium.

Aluminium is a soft and lightweight metal. It has a dull silvery appearance, because of a thin layer of oxidation that forms quickly when it is exposed to air. Aluminium is nontoxic (as the metal) nonmagnetic and non-sparking.

Aluminium has only one naturally occurring isotope, aluminium-27, which is not radioactive.