6 The Thirteenth Element, Part 2

The Thirteenth Element, Part 2

Posted on October 20, 2011 by

We do not have aluminium spoons or forks in the kitchen anymore, however theкe is something made of aluminium there which we use pretty often. It is foil.

Aluminium foil is one of the most popular materials used in food production, electrical industry, pharmacological industry, and automobile industry. It has great heat conduction characteristics, it is hygienic, easy to use and, what is most important, it is environmentally sound because it utterly disappears in the ground.

To produce aluminium foil, it is necessary to build a factory with melting furnaces and a rolling mill which could roll out aluminium bars into sheets which are just 5 micrometers thick.

In 1993 such a factory was build near the aluminium production factory in Sayanogorsk we have mentioned in one of our previous articles. Now this factory produces up to 70% of aluminium foil of the country.

It is a melting department. Here they pour melted aluminium into a furnace where it gets degassed. They add modifiers to make the aluminium structure better.

So, the melt is ready. After that they make an aluminium tape (6-10 milimeters thick and 1200-1650 milimeters wide) out of it.

The hot aluminium tape is twisted into rolls…

… which go into the burning furnace where they gets heated to re-establish the lattice for the metal to become durable and holeproof.

Then the tape goes onto the rolling mill.

Foil producers compete with each other in attempt to make their foil thinner than it was and every micrometer counts! The first foil this factory produced was 11 micrometers thick. As the time went by and the factory was getting more and more experienced, they learnt how to make it thinner. Now they produce 5-micrometer-thick foil (for you to understand how small this is – a human hair is usually 40-50 micrometers thick). This foil is mostly used in capacitor production and food production.

When the foil gets thin enough, they combine two sheets and roll them together, using a lot of of water-and-oil mix.

Isn’t it amazing that such thin foil going so fast through the press, remains intact?

After they have rolled the two sheets together, the foil gets double-sided (one side is mat and the other is glossy).

Now they have to make two rolls out of the double-sided one and cut them. After that the rolls go into the burning furnace. This production is almost non-waste because everything what is left, gets pressed and goes into the melting furnace again.


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6 Responses to “The Thirteenth Element, Part 2”

  1. yojimbo says:

    aluminium is really a very useful metal just count on your hands the things you use everyday that have aluminium in them.Also many vehicles nowadays use aluminium as well most smaller size engines have aluminium engine blocks.

    What drive me nuts here in the US many people call aluminium foil “tin foil” I always think what an idiot it is made of aluminium not tin tin feel out of common use about 100 years ago.

  2. Hirsh says:

    Difference between upkeep on money making businesses like this vs. government facilities like missile defense headquarters is huge.

  3. EngrishBob says:

    Aluminium is so cool in that whatever temperature it is at it looks the same. I’d love to see someone welding sheet this thin.

    • yojimbo says:

      They would have to be Vulcan to be able to weld together two this thin of sheets.They say a very skilled welder can fuse two soda cans and they a bit thicker than this foil.

    • Kent_Diego says:

      Funny you mention that. Many years ago I took a metal shop class where I did sand casting with aluminum. Once the metal hardens it looks cool but if you drop a piece of paper on it, the paper will burst into flames. Fun times….

  4. stolichnaya says:

    What kind of post is this??? An actual factory filled with people and working machinery? Where are all the rusty pieces of metal and destroyed buildings?

    Another thing: none of the workers’ areas show any gas masks or posters about Imperialist attacks. This is a very unique Russian factory! :)

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