Aluminum Oxide

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Frequently Asked Questions...

How can you turn aluminum oxide into Al?

I am trying to find away of turning aluminum oxide or alumina into just aluminum. Please post all ideas i dont care how crazy.


Best Answer...

Answer:

The problem is that in an oxygen rich environment, like the air, then aluminum will instantly form a protective coating of aluminum oxide on any freshly prepared surface. So, mechanical sanding or abrasion will be of little help.

You could abrade the surface inside of a container where there is no oxygen. That would require the construction of an airtight glovebox, then fill it with N2 or an inert gas.

The aluminum oxide coating will dissolve in very basic solutions. Aluminum metal is also very reactive with water.
2Al + 6H2O --> 2Al(OH)3(s) + 3H2(g)

In Drano, the basic solution dissolves the Al2O3 coating, which allows the Al metal to react with water producing H2 gas and the agitation needed to help dissolve the clog.