Aluminum - properties, characteristics
Currently, a huge variety of kitchen utensils are on the market. You can choose the dishes for every taste and budget, but more recently, the choice was not so great, aluminum dishes were especially popular. This affordable and easy-to-use kitchen utensil was, without exception, in every home, every housewife. From this article you will learn what aluminum is - the properties and characteristics of the material and utensils from it. Armed with this information, you can easily decide whether to purchase kitchen utensils from aluminum, whether it will take its rightful place in your kitchen cabinet.to contents ↑
A bit about history
It is worth saying that aluminum was discovered not so long ago. It was received only in the 19th century, because in its pure form in nature it does not exist. Thanks to the active development of chemistry and the discovery of electricity, mankind has received in its use a very useful metal, aluminum, which has become actively used in many fields of activity. Currently, aluminum is obtained from bauxite rock by an electrolytic process.
At first, aluminum was attributed to precious metals and various ornaments and luxury items were made from it. With the rapid development of chemistry, getting aluminum became much easier; it found its application in aviation, which was very important in wartime. Already in the 20th century, this metal became more affordable, dishes began to be produced from it. Such light and comfortable products began to gradually replace heavy copper and cast iron utensils.
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Important! Aluminum is used in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and in the household sphere; moreover, it is used even in the space industry.
Aluminum has incredible characteristics that allow it to be used in various fields. The affordable price of this metal further expands the scope of its use.
Here are the basic properties and characteristics of aluminum:
- High thermal conductivity. This quality of metal allows you to use it for the manufacture of pots and pans, because it speeds up the process of heating food and its preparation.
- Ease. Due to the incredible lightness of aluminum, it has become actively used for making dishes. It is much more convenient to use low-weight products than to constantly rearrange and raise incredibly heavy pots and pans. Aluminum appliances and utensils were actively used in tourism, facilitating the overall weight of the burden, until they were replaced by utensils made of modern artificial materials.
- The softness of the metal. This quality entails not only advantages, but also disadvantages. With its softness, aluminum is easy to shape, which facilitates the process of creating objects. At the same time, softness affects the susceptibility to deformation of products from this alloy.
- Resistance to corrosion. Aluminum products do not rust. This is due to the fact that upon contact of the metal with oxygen, an oxide film forms on their surface, which protects the metal. She also does not allow the metal to come into direct contact with food. However, this film is capable of being damaged by mechanical stress. It is worth knowing that it can also be easily restored by pouring clean water into a container and leaving it there for about 15 minutes.
- Low price.The process of obtaining aluminum is not too expensive in comparison with the production of other metals, which makes it available for use in many fields of activity.
Important! You might be interested to know:
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Types of aluminum cookware
If we talk about the domestic sphere, namely the manufacture of dishes, then there are two main types of aluminum kitchen utensils, depending on the method of its manufacture:
- Cast aluminum cookware. In this case, the products are made by pouring metal into the prepared molds. Such kitchen utensils are more expensive than stamped from a similar metal. The walls of cast aluminum pots or pans are much thicker than stamped ones. The dishes are characterized by good thermal conductivity, but, unlike those made by stamping, they are not subject to deformation due to the greater wall thickness.
Important! The thick bottom and walls of the products also prevent the rapid burning of food. Cast dishes have an impressive period of use.
- Stamped aluminum cookware. These products are made from aluminum sheets. Thanks to machining, the metal sheets are given the desired shape, in other words, in this embodiment, the products are stamped. A variety of stamping is forging and chasing dishes. Manufacturers often use stamping from thickened sheets of metal, which allows to increase the quality characteristics of such dishes. Unlike cast, stamped dishes are not expensive.
Important! Modern production of kitchen utensils is increasingly less likely to use stamping and casting in its purest form. After making the dishes, one of the methods is applied to its surface with a non-stick coating. This technology makes aluminum cookware more comfortable for cooking. The capacity still heats up quickly, but the non-stick coating prevents the burning of food. This made aluminum dishes more in demand among housewives.
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Advantages and disadvantages of aluminum cookware
As you can understand, the properties and characteristics of aluminum utensils make it quite attractive. But is she so good? The answer to this question can be obtained by learning about the advantages and disadvantages of aluminum utensils. Having dealt with them, it will become clear why lately she has somewhat lost her popularity.
Advantages of aluminum cookware:
- Low cost. This fact, no doubt, makes aluminum utensils available to many segments of the population.
- Ease. In situations where you have to spend a lot of time cooking, lightness has a very important role. If you constantly have to rearrange heavy utensils from place to place, this is tiring.
- Durability. With proper care and operation, according to the recommendations, aluminum utensils can serve you faithfully and for a long time in the kitchen.
- Resistance to corrosion. This property of aluminum makes it attractive for use in the kitchen, because there metal objects are constantly in contact with water.
- Good thermal conductivity. This property of aluminum helps to save such precious time, because the water in such a pan boils very quickly.
Important! If you have such kitchen utensils at home or are planning to buy them, use our selection of tips to clean aluminum properly.
Cons of aluminum utensils:
- Softness. This metal is very delicate and requires careful handling. It is very easy to leave scratches and damage on its surface. From strong mechanical stress, dishes may become deformed, especially when it comes to stamped pans and pans.
- During cooking, it is likely that the food will burn and sink to the bottom. This is due to the fact that such dishes have thin walls, especially for products made by stamping.This minus goes away if you purchase aluminum cookware with non-stick coating.
- What other qualities does aluminum have? Some food can change its taste from contact with aluminum. This is due to the fact that in contact with acids and alkalis, aluminum is oxidized. This is especially felt if during cooking the walls from a metal spatula or spoon are mechanically damaged.
- It is not recommended to store food in aluminum dishes. After cooking, you need to transfer the cooked food to another storage container. This metal does not like prolonged contact with food and can enter into chemical reactions with it.
- Kitchen utensils made of such metal can easily darken during the oxidation process, from contact with products containing sulfur.
- Aluminum utensils are very capricious in leaving, when burning it is difficult to wash, since it is afraid of strong mechanical stresses. The soot will have to be soaked and carefully and carefully removed from the surface.
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Important! Some recent scientific studies prove that aluminum is harmful to human health. An excess of aluminum affects the human metabolism, as well as its nervous system. It helps to eliminate calcium from the body, impaired renal function. However, all these negative consequences occur when the amount of metal in the body is increased. Of course, it stands out from the dishes during heating and contact with some products, but its quantity is not so large. That is why it is worth following all the recommendations and not preparing certain products in such utensils so that they do not enter into a chemical reaction with the metal.
As you can see, along with considerable advantages, there are significant disadvantages of aluminum products. However, modern industry allows you to smooth out these disadvantages, thanks to the manufacture of dishes with an additional coating. Thus, the ease of products is preserved and the option of food burning is excluded. Knowing the properties and characteristics of aluminum, you can solve the question of the need to purchase such dishes.