Have you ever wondered where the aluminum we use in so many products comes from? Bauxite is an aluminum ore serving as the world’s primary aluminum source. Bauxite rock is formed from a laterite soil that has been leached of soluble materials. This leaching can only occur in wet tropical or subtropical climates — thus, the bulk of the world’s bauxite comes from countries such as Guinea, Australia, Vietnam, Jamaica, and Brazil.
If you need a reliable source of bauxite for your manufacturing processes, Brenntag, N.A. has you covered. We’re a top bauxite distributor providing the ideal types and quantities for your applications.
Bauxite Uses and Applications
Bauxite cannot be used for manufacturing purposes in its natural state. Approximately 85 percent of all mined bauxite is converted to alumina, a white solid aluminum oxide, via the Bayer process. The alumina is then used to produce aluminum sheets or casts serving as the basis for the numerous aluminum products we consume on a daily basis. It takes approximately six tons of bauxite ore to produce one ton of aluminum.
In addition to the production of aluminum, bauxite can be processed in a rotary kiln to remove moisture. This procedure prepares bauxite for use as a refractory — a heat-resistant material having numerous industrial applications.
The increasing use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the process of injecting pressurized liquids into subterranean rocks to extract oil and gas — has created an additional need for bauxite in recent years. Bauxite acts as a proppant to open the fissures and facilitate the flow of the oil or gas from beneath the surface.
Bauxite Properties and Characteristics
Bauxite is pisolitic, granular rock (not a mineral) with a chemical formula of Al2O(OH)4, which represents a mixture of various hydrated aluminum oxides. In its pure form, bauxite exhibits a dirty white color, although it is usually found in different shades of gray, yellow, red, or brown.
While aluminum metal is known for its shiny appearance, bauxite’s luster is dull to earthy. Bauxite’s hardness normally lies within the 1-3 range, although this will vary depending on porosity and the amount of impurities in the material. The density of bauxite is 2.2 to 2.55.
Where to Buy Bauxite and Alumina in the United States
Need to know where to get bauxite? With convenient locations across North America, Brenntag, N.A. is perfectly positioned to ship bauxite to your facility in the most expeditious, cost-effective manner. Our combination of specialized distribution channels, industry-best expertise, extensive product selection, and world-class customer service make us the best choice for all your ingredient and chemical solution needs.
Contact us to learn more about our bauxite product selection and how it can benefit your manufacturing operation today.