Silicon Nanoparticles Could Make Magnesium The Next Aluminum
In the mid-19th century, aluminum was one of the most expensive metals on Earth, even though it’s one of the most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust. That was because of the expensive and complicated process needed to turn it from its natural state to the metal we all enjoy. In the late 1880s, that changed with the development of the Hall–Héroult process, which enabled aluminum to be cheaply manufactured and led to its widespread use in everything today from building frames to soda cans to airplanes.
As a side effect, the Hall-Héroult process also makes magnesium easy and cheap to manufacture. This has some potential manufacturing benefits as well, as magnesium is even lighter than aluminum, is also very abundant in the Earth’s crust, and can be used in many similar applications – opening the door for more energy efficiency and other benefits.