Tireless microbial killers in new nanocomposites

They kill with a molecular sting or oxidative shock and don't know the meaning of fatigue. The latest biocidal nanocomposites, designed and synthesized by scientists at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy ...

A counterintuitive way to make stronger alloys

Humans have been mixing metals to create more useful materials for thousands of years. The Bronze Age, which started around 3300 BC, was characterized by the use of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin which is stronger than ...

Kind methods mean happy cells

Stem cells from umbilical cords in Skåne are improved with nanotubes. By cross-pollinating nanotechnology with stem cell biology, researchers are creating gentle methods to ensure that more cells perform better. Blood stem ...

Metallurgist explains the surprising properties of aluminum

Despite being the most abundant metal on Earth, constituting over 8% of the Earth's core mass, aluminum was only discovered in the 1820s, by Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted. This is partly explained because pure aluminum ...

Particle physics pushing cancer treatment boundaries

Researchers at Europe's science lab CERN, who regularly use particle physics to challenge our understanding of the universe, are also applying their craft to upend the limits to cancer treatment.

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US i/əˈluːmɨnəm/ ə-loo-mi-nəm

Aluminium or aluminum (US English) is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances. Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface. Aluminium metal is too reactive chemically to occur natively. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite.

Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. Structural components made from aluminium and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and are important in other areas of transportation and structural materials. The most useful compounds of aluminium, at least on a weight basis, are the oxides and sulfates.

Despite its prevalence in the environment, aluminium salts are not known to be used by any form of life. In keeping with its pervasiveness, it is well tolerated by plants and animals. Because of their prevalence, potential biological roles, beneficial and otherwise, aluminium compounds are of continuing interest.

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