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Aluminium foil acts as a total barrier to light and oxygen (which cause fats to oxidise or become rancid), odours and flavours, moistness, and germs, it is used broadly in food and pharmaceutical packaging. The purpose of aluminium is to make long-life packs (aseptic processing|aseptic packaging) for drinks and dairy goods, which allows storing without refrigeration. Aluminium foil containers and trays are used to bake pies and to pack takeaway meals, ready snacks and long life pet foods.
Aluminium foil is widely sold into the consumer market, often in rolls of 500 mm (20 in) width and several metres in length.It is used for wrapping food in order to preserve it, for example, when storing leftover food in a refrigerator (where it serves the additional purpose of preventing odour exchange), when taking sandwiches on a journey, or when selling some kinds of take-away or fast food. Tex-Mex restaurants in the United States, for example, typically provide take-away burritos wrapped in aluminium foil.
Aluminium foils thicker than 25 μm (1 mil) are impermeable to oxygen and water. Foils thinner than this become slightly permeable due to minute pinholes caused by the production process.
Aluminium foil has a shiny side and a matte side. The shiny side is produced when the aluminium is rolled during the final pass. It is difficult to produce rollers with a gap fine enough to cope with the foil gauge, therefore, for the final pass, two sheets are rolled at the same time, doubling the thickness of the gauge at entry to the rollers. When the sheets are later separated, the inside surface is dull, and the outside surface is shiny. This difference in the finish has led to the perception that favouring a side has an effect when cooking. While many believe that the different properties keep heat out when wrapped with the shiny finish facing out, and keep heat in with the shiny finish facing inwards, the actual difference is imperceptible without instrumentation.The reflectivity of bright aluminium foil is 88% while dull embossed foil is about 80%.
Aluminium (or aluminum; see spelling differences) is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery white, soft, ductile metal. Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface. Aluminium metal is so chemically reactive that native specimens are rare and limited to extreme reducing environments. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals.The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite.
Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. Structural components made from aluminium and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and are important in other areas of transportation and structural materials. The most useful compounds of aluminium, at least on a weight basis, are the oxides and sulfates.
Despite its prevalence in the environment, no known form of life uses aluminium salts metabolically. In keeping with its pervasiveness, aluminium is well tolerated by plants and animals. Owing to their prevalence, potential beneficial (or otherwise) biological roles of aluminium compounds are of continuing interest.
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