Aluminium is very much the material of the 21st century, we use this silvery-white metal in all kinds of things, from drinks cans to spacecraft. Aluminium's wide use is all down to it's low density and it's ability to resist corrosion due to a thin, protective layer of aluminium oxide that it forms - like a protective shield! Aluminium is one of the three main elements present in a class of minerals called zeolites. These zeolites are nets of aluminium and silicon, linked by oxygen which act like sponges, trapping other chemicals within them or sorting them like a sieve. They are a bit of a secret hero material, helping us in the everyday by producing petrol, softening water and even clotting blood in dressings or cleaning up radioactive waste!
More info about the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in crystals project:
This project (#IYPTCrystals) is part of the International Year of the Periodic Table celebration (#IYPT2019), read more about the project here. You can also follow the project on Twitter @IYPTCrystals or Instagram IYPTCrystals.
If you want to find out more about some of the terms and concepts we have a Frequently Asked Questions Page Frequently Asked Questions Page.