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The Mineralogy of Aluminium

About Aluminium
Aluminium, also known as aluminum, is a silvery grey metallic solid at standard temperature and pressure. It is soft, nonmagnetic and ductile. It is the third most abundant element in the Earth's crust after oxygen and silicon.
General Properties
Symbol:Al
Atomic Number:13
Standard atomic weight (Ar):26.9815386(8)
Electron configuration:[Ne] 3s2 3p1
Photos
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Chunk of aluminium
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Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.61
Atomic Radius:118 pm
Ionic Radius:53.5 pm (+3)
1st Ionization energy:578 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-43 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:1,3
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:933 K
Boiling Point:2792 K
Density:2.7 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:metal
Main isotopes of Aluminium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
26Altrace7.17x105yβ+26Mg
ε26Mg
27Al100%stable
Main ions of Aluminium
NameIonExample minerals
aluminiumAl3+, Gibbsite, Cryolite
[AlF6]3-Cryolite, Cryolithionite, Carlhintzeite
[AlF(H2O)5]2+
Other Information
Year Discovered:1808
Discovered By:
Humphry Davy
Year Predicted:1787
Year Isolated:1825
Isolated By:
Hans Christian Ørsted
Named For:from Latin: alumen - "bitter salt"
CPK color coding:#BFA6A6
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Nitridesaluminium nitrideAlN
Sulfidesdialuminium trisulfideAl2S3+3
Selenidesdialuminium triselenideAl2Se3+3
Telluridesdialuminium tritellurideAl2Te3+3
Hydridesaluminium trihydrideAlH3+3
Hydroxidesaluminium hydroxideAl(OH)3+3Gibbsite, Bayerite, Doyleite, Nordstrandite
aluminium oxide hydroxideAlOOH+3Diaspore, Böhmite
Fluoridesaluminium trifluorideAlF3+3Oskarssonite
aluminium trifluoride trihydrateAlF3 · 3H2O+3Rosenbergite
Chloridesdialuminium hexachloride[AlCl3]2+3
aluminium chloride hexahydrateAlCl3 · 6H2O+3Chloraluminite
Bromidesdialuminium hexabromide[AlBr3]2+3
Iodidesdialuminium hexaiodide[AlI3]2+3
Oxidesaluminium oxideAl2O3+3Corundum
Carbonatesaluminium carbonateAl2(CO3)3+3
Nitratesaluminium nitrateAl(NO3)3+3
aluminium nitrate nonahydrateAl(NO3)3 · 9H2O+3
Sulfatesaluminium sulfateAl2(SO4)3+3
aluminium sulfate dodecahydrateAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O+3Meta-alunogen
aluminium sulfate hexadecahydrateAl2(SO4)3 · 16H2O+3
aluminium sulfate heptadecahydrateAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O+3Alunogen
Phosphatesaluminium phosphateAlPO4+3Berlinite
aluminium phosphate dihydrateAlPO4 · 2H2O+3Variscite, Metavariscite
Arsenatesaluminium arsenateAlAsO4+3Alarsite
aluminium arsenate dihydrateAlAsO4 · 2H2O+3Mansfieldite
Vanadatesaluminium vanadateAlVO4+3
aluminium vanadate trihydrateAlVO4 · 3H2O+3Steigerite
Niobates/Tantalatesaluminium tantalateAlTaO4+3Alumotantite
Mineral Diversity of Aluminium
1. Elements 3 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 1 valid mineral species
3. Halides42 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 50 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 25 valid mineral species
6. Borates12 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 71 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates181 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 435 valid mineral species
10. Organic Compounds5 valid mineral species
Total:825 valid species containing essential Aluminium
Geochemistry of Aluminium
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
Al3+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
Al3+ is enriched in Ca-Al-rich inclusions in meteorites relative to the composition of the solar system.
Al3+ enters early-forming phases in igneous rocks.
Al3+ is commonly concentrated in residual soils and sediments.
Al3+ is concentrated in deep-sea ferromanganese nodules relative to seawater.
Elemental Aluminium in Nature
Found as native element:AluminiumAl
SteinhardtiteAl0.38Ni0.32Fe0.30
Found as natural alloy with Cu:Cupalite(Cu,Zn)Al
Elemental Abundance for Aluminium
Crust (CRC Handbook)8.23 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)8.0 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)8.3000 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)8.4100 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)8.3050 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)8.5200 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)8.0400 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)7.7400 x 10-2mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2 x 10-9mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1 x 10-9mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)8.3 x 10-2atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)8.5 x 10-2atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)8.49 x 10-2 (3.6%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Aluminium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Aluminium and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Aluminium and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Aluminium.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Aluminium% of Al mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen1051 minerals with Al and O98.22%27.51% higher
Hydrogen843 minerals with Al and H78.79%45.20% higher
Silicon605 minerals with Al and Si56.54%101.94% higher
Calcium426 minerals with Al and Ca39.81%60.42% higher
Sodium319 minerals with Al and Na29.81%56.17% higher
Iron292 minerals with Al and Fe27.29%18.54% higher
Magnesium281 minerals with Al and Mg26.26%89.11% higher
Potassium195 minerals with Al and K18.22%86.54% higher
Phosphorus171 minerals with Al and P15.98%43.51% higher
Fluorine160 minerals with Al and F14.95%77.94% higher
Sulfur144 minerals with Al and S13.46%31.71% lower
Manganese108 minerals with Al and Mn10.09%13.44% lower
Boron76 minerals with Al and B7.10%38.50% higher
Chlorine68 minerals with Al and Cl6.36%16.37% lower
Barium60 minerals with Al and Ba5.61%19.84% higher
Carbon54 minerals with Al and C5.05%32.42% lower
Arsenic54 minerals with Al and As5.05%56.08% lower
Copper51 minerals with Al and Cu4.77%62.27% lower
Titanium48 minerals with Al and Ti4.49%35.57% lower
Lithium48 minerals with Al and Li4.49%98.09% higher
Strontium45 minerals with Al and Sr4.21%47.83% higher
Zinc41 minerals with Al and Zn3.83%28.91% lower
Vanadium36 minerals with Al and V3.36%19.39% lower
Beryllium36 minerals with Al and Be3.36%49.80% higher
Lead29 minerals with Al and Pb2.71%71.94% lower
Cerium29 minerals with Al and Ce2.71%18.65% lower
Lanthanum21 minerals with Al and La1.96%13.98% higher
Uranium20 minerals with Al and U1.87%61.29% lower
Nitrogen19 minerals with Al and N1.78%7.89% lower
Yttrium18 minerals with Al and Y1.68%36.25% lower
Nickel12 minerals with Al and Ni1.12%65.76% lower
Antimony10 minerals with Al and Sb0.93%81.09% lower
Chromium10 minerals with Al and Cr0.93%43.89% lower
Niobium10 minerals with Al and Nb0.93%72.56% lower
Zirconium9 minerals with Al and Zr0.84%65.43% lower
Neodymium8 minerals with Al and Nd0.75%23.18% lower
Tin8 minerals with Al and Sn0.75%59.65% lower
Caesium7 minerals with Al and Cs0.65%45.64% higher
Tantalum6 minerals with Al and Ta0.56%58.96% lower
Thorium6 minerals with Al and Th0.56%37.58% lower
Scandium5 minerals with Al and Sc0.47%56.05% higher
Germanium4 minerals with Al and Ge0.37%31.12% lower
Rubidium4 minerals with Al and Rb0.37%299.48% higher
Molybdenum4 minerals with Al and Mo0.37%67.78% lower
Tungsten3 minerals with Al and W0.28%63.46% lower
Cobalt3 minerals with Al and Co0.28%80.29% lower
Gallium2 minerals with Al and Ga0.19%42.67% higher
Tellurium2 minerals with Al and Te0.19%93.91% lower
Bismuth1 mineral with Al and Bi0.09%97.73% lower
Selenium1 mineral with Al and Se0.09%96.04% lower
Cadmium1 mineral with Al and Cd0.09%81.51% lower
Thallium1 mineral with Al and Tl0.09%91.81% lower
Samarium1 mineral with Al and Sm0.09%16.78% lower
Mercury1 mineral with Al and Hg0.09%94.63% lower
Ytterbium1 mineral with Al and Yb0.09%16.78% lower
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
 
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with Al Relative Frequency
Magnesium << Aluminium >> Silicon


Most widespread minerals containing Aluminium
This list of minerals containing Aluminium is built from the mindat.org locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Aluminium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2Monoclinic9159
Epidote{Ca2}{Al2Fe3+}(Si2O7)(SiO4)O(OH)Monoclinic7520
AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)Triclinic6970
MicroclineK(AlSi3O8)Triclinic4468
KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4Triclinic4459
BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)Hexagonal3657
ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2OOrthorhombic3324
SchorlNa(Fe2+3)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)Trigonal2553
AlmandineFe2+3Al2(SiO4)3Isometric2248
OrthoclaseK(AlSi3O8)Monoclinic2152
Photos

Localities with greatest number of different Aluminium mineral species
map should go here
1Poudrette quarry (Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Desourdy quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada75 Al minerals
2Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany67 Al minerals
Aldan Shield, Sakha Republic (Saha Republic; Yakutia), Eastern-Siberian Region, Russia59 Al minerals
4Clara Mine, Rankach valley, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany50 Al minerals
5Långban, Filipstad, Värmland, Sweden44 Al minerals
6Foote Lithium Co. Mine (Foote Mine), Kings Mountain District, Cleveland Co., North Carolina, USA43 Al minerals
7Bisbee, Warren District, Mule Mts, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA41 Al minerals
8Buranga pegmatite, Gatumba District, Western Province, Rwanda40 Al minerals


Important ores of Aluminium
The main ore of aluminium is the rock bauxite which contains a significant amount of aluminium hydroxide minerals.
NameFormulaCrystal System
Bauxite
GibbsiteAl(OH)3Monoclinic
BöhmiteAlO(OH)Orthorhombic
DiasporeAlO(OH)Orthorhombic
Photos


Other significant minerals containing Aluminium
NameFormulaCrystal System
CorundumAl2O3Trigonal
SpinelMgAl2O4Isometric
AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)Triclinic
AnorthiteCa(Al2Si2O8)Triclinic
CryoliteNa2NaAlF6Monoclinic
Photos


Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to jolyon@mindat.org. Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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