Chemistry Question #1587

Emma, a 15 year old female from the Internet asks on September 25, 2003,

Why has Aluminium only recently been extracted from its ore?

viewed 16577 times

The answer

Barry Shell answered on September 25, 2003

While aluminum is the third most abundand element in the Earth's crust, it is not easy to get the pure metal. The method for extracting aluminum from ore is electrolysis and it relies on a tremendous amount of electrical power. Since electricity in large quantities only became commercially available around the middle of the 20th century, this was the first time in history that enough power was available to economically extract aluminum metal from ore in large quantities. For more details check out BBC Bitesize.

Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.

Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.

If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to