29212D

29212D
Caption: Aluminum (metal) microspheres. These tiny spheres are made from aluminum oxide. Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the on Earth. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface. Aluminum is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as a free metal. Instead it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The main source of aluminum is bauxite ore. Approximately 95% of the world's bauxite production is processed first into alumina (aluminum oxide, Al2O3), and then into aluminum by electrolysis. Aluminum resists corrosion due to passivation and the metal's low density. Structural components made from aluminum and its alloys include the aerospace industry, transportation and building. Its reactive nature makes it useful as a catalyst or additive in chemical mixtures, including toothpaste and ammonium nitrate explosives. It is widely used as a coarse or fine abrasive in polishing compounds. Aluminum is also widely used in the fabrication of superconducting devices, particularly single electron transistors and superconducting quantum devices. In medicine aluminum microspheres are used for coupling of DNA, oligonucleotides, oligopeptides, proteins, lectins and antibodies.
Magnification*: x2,400
Type: SEM
Copyright 2010 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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