Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3 ) or alumina is one of the most versatile of refractory ceramic oxides and finds use in a wide range of applications,such as brown fused alumina .It is found in nature as corundum in emery, topaz, amethyst, and emerald and as the precious gemstones ruby and sapphire, but it is from the more abundant ores such as bauxite, cryolite and clays that the material is commercially extracted and purified. Corundum exists as rhombohedral crystals with hexagonal structure. The unit cell is an acute rhombohedron of side length 5.2Å and plane angle ~55°.  It is the close packing of the aluminium and oxygen atoms within this structure that leads to its good mechanical and thermal properties.

 

The most common process for the extraction and purification of alumina is the ‘Bayer’ process. The first step in the process is the mixing of ground bauxite into a solution of sodium hydroxide. By applying steam and pressure in tanks containing the mixture, the bauxite slowly dissolves. The alumina released reacts with the sodium hydroxide to form sodium aluminate. After the contents of the tank have passed through other vessels where the pressure and temperature are reduced and impurities are removed, the solution of sodium aluminate is placed in a special tank where the alumina is precipitated out. The precipitate is removed from the tank, washed, and heated in a kiln to drive off any water present. The residue is a commercially pure alumina.

 

Other extraction processes are used including pyrogenic treatment of bauxite with soda, and the extraction of aluminium hydroxide from meta kaolin via either the chloride or sulphate.The yield of alumina from these processes can approach 90%.For advanced ceramics uses, the alumina manufactured by these processes requires further purification. This is often achieved by recrystallisation from ammonium alum.

 

Its high free energy of formation makes alumina chemically stable and refractory, and hence it finds uses in containment of aggressive and high temperature environments.The high hardness of alumina imparts wear and abrasion resistance and hence it is used in diverse applications such as wear resistant linings for pipes and vessels, pump and faucet seals, thread and wire guides etc.High purity aluminas are also used as orthopaedic implants particularly in hip replacement surgery.The high “hot” hardness of alumina have led to applications as tool tips for metal cutting (though in this instance alumina matrix composites with even higher properties are more common) and abrasives.

 

Alumina is used as milling media in a wide range of particle size reduction processes.The high dielectric constant coupled with low dielectric loss particularly at high frequencies leads to a number of microwave applications including windows for high power devices and waveguides.The high volume resistivity and dielectric strength make alumina an excellent electrical insulator which leads to applications in electronics as substrates and connectors, and in lower duty applications such as insulators for automotive spark plugs.For more information about alumina, please contact us, we fused alumina wholesale and sell it at a favorable price.