It was a French geologist Pierre Berthier who first discovered bauxite near a village southern France in 1821. Later, a French chemist named Henri Sainte-Claire Deville officially termed the substance as “bauxite” in 1861. In any case,Bauxite is a form of a sedimentary rock and is the principal source of the popular metal aluminium. It is usually obtained from the topsoil in various tropical and subtropical regions. The ore is acquired through mining operations and currently it is concentrated in mostly developed countries. More than 160 million metric tons of bauxite are mined each year.
In terms of physical properties, Bauxite has different composition. What it means is that Bauxite contains a mixture of oxides like aluminum hydroxides, hydrous aluminum oxides, and minerals like gibbsite, boehmite and diaspore including some clay minerals. It also contains, insoluble materials namely magnetite, quartz, siderite, hematite and goethite. It is usually, yellow, white, beige, gray, reddish-brown, pink and brown in color.
Principal Uses of Bauxite
Bauxite does not have many uses as far as it is concerned. The only things is that it holds great importance as being the primary ore of aluminum and we know this metal is used in a lot of things. Apart from this let’s look at some of the common uses of Bauxite.
- In building material and road aggregates
- Other uses
Bauxite is the best and only material for making aluminum. There are several process like Bayer Process and Hall-Heroult Process involved in extraction of aluminium from bauxite. And once extracted, aluminium and aluminium based alloys are used extensively in electronics, construction, vehicles and even in utensils.
Bauxite is used in a lot of industries like the chemical industry, refractory, abrasive, cement, steel, and petrol industry amongst others. In chemical, bauxite along with alumina is used in the manufacturing of aluminium chemicals. In refractory, it is used as a raw material for making several products. Bauxite is the main constituent material in airplane making industry, electric industry, machinery and civil tool making industry. It is also used as an desiccating agent, adsorbent, catalyst and in the manufacture of dental cements.
In Building Material and Road Aggregates
Lateritic bauxite is often used as building material when no other materials are available. Calcined bauxite is used by construction companies as an anti skid road aggregate which is used in selected areas to prevent accidents.
Bauxite has limited uses but wide application of paper making, water purifying, and petroleum refining. Additionally, Bauxite is also used is some other sectors like rubber, plastic, paint and cosmetics.
These are some of the popular uses of Bauxite. To know more about properties, structure of Aluminium you can keep visiting BYJU’s or download our app for interesting content and learning experience.