What is Bauxite?

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Bauxite is a rock made from laterite soil filtered of solvable content such as silica in wet humid or subtropical environments that include West Indies, Africa, Australia and America. There are little deposits in Europe. Australia has five bauxite mines that supply 23% of world’s bauxite. This makes it the world’s largest bauxite producer. Bauxite is sole aluminum ore. Most aluminum that is generated is removed from bauxite. Bauxite has no specific structure. Rather, it is a combination of aluminum hydroxides, clay minerals, hydrous aluminum oxides, and intricate materials like hematite, siderite, quartz, goethite and magnetite. Bauxite contains boehmite, gibbsite, and diaspora which are aluminum minerals. Aluminum ranks third in terms of quantity of elements found in the Earth’s crust. However, it is not a naturally occurring metal.

Common Features of Bauxite

Naturally, bauxite is a soft material whose color ranges between white, grayish to red brown. It has an earthly shine, low gravity and its structure is pisolitic. Though these features are important in identification of bauxite, they do not affect its usefulness or value. This is due to the fact that in most occasions, bauxite is processed into a different material whose properties are distinct from those of bauxite.

Uses of Bauxite

An estimated 85percent of bauxite produced globally is used to generate alumina. Alumina is used to refine aluminum metal. An additional 10 percent is used to generate alumina that is used in abrasives, chemicals and refractory items. The other 5 percent is used for making aluminum compounds. The strength, ability to resist corrosion and lightness of aluminum are important elements in determining aluminum usage. Since aluminum does not cause any harm to animals or plants, metallic aluminum is commonly used in developing packages such as beverage cans, transportation materials, electrical application and transportation. Despite its usage in many applications, aluminum can easily be substituted by other metals if need arises. For example, it can be replaced by copper in electrical applications.

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