Aluminum Family (Encyclopedia of Science)
The aluminum family consists of elements in Group 13 of the periodic table: boron (B), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), and thallium (Tl). The family is usually named after the second element, aluminum, rather than the first, boron, because boron is less typical of the family members than is aluminum. Boron is a metalloid (an element that has some of the properties of metals and some of the properties of nonmetals), while the other four members of the family are all metals.
Aluminum is a lightweight, silvery metal, familiar to every household in the form of pots and pans, beverage cans, and aluminum foil. It is attractive, nontoxic, corrosion-resistant, nonmagnetic, and easy to form, cast, or machine into a variety of shapes. It has a melting point of 660°C (1,220°F) and a boiling point of 2,519°C (4,566°F).
Aluminum is the third most abundant element in Earth's crust after oxygen and silicon, and it is the most abundant of all metals. It constitutes 8.1 percent of the crust by weight and 6.3 percent of all the atoms in the crust. Because it is a very active metal, aluminum is never found in its metallic form. Rather, it occurs in a wide variety of earthy and rocky minerals, including feldspar, mica, granite, and clay. Kaolin is an especially fine, white, aluminum-containing clay that is used in making porcelain....
(The entire section is 1601 words.)
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