Aluminum hydroxide, the formulation of which is Al(OH)3, can be found in nature in the following forms: gibbsite, which is a mineral, and doyleite, nordstrandite and bayerite, all of which are rare polymorphs. Based on its properties, we can say that aluminum hydroxide appears to be an antacid. It has various uses, primary among which is medical application.
There are many different forms of aluminum oxide, including both crystalline and non-crystalline forms. It’s an electrical insulator, which means it doesn’t conduct electricity, and it also has relatively high thermal conductivity. In addition, in its crystalline form, corundum, its hardness makes it suitable as an abrasive. The high melting point of aluminum oxide makes it a good refractory material for lining high-temperature appliances like kilns, furnaces, incinerators, reactors of various sorts, and crucibles. The chemical formula for aluminum hydroxide is Al(OH)₃.
Properties of aluminum hydroxide
The purified aluminum hydroxide has form of bulky powder of white color or granules with density nearly 2.42 g per mL. Aluminum hydroxide won’t dissolve in water, but will dissolve only in bases and acids. You can expect aluminum hydroxide to act as an amphoteric substance in water. If a strong base is present, aluminum hydroxide will act as an acid. And if a strong acid is present, it will act as a strong base.
Aluminum hydroxide should be handled with caution because its exposure can cause irritation. However, only minor and residual injuries will be present. As for flammability, aluminum hydroxide is not flammable and will not burn. Besides, aluminum hydroxide is not reactive, therefore, it is stable in both fire and water conditions.
Applications of aluminum hydroxide
Aluminum hydroxide has plenty of applications; some people believe that these uses are really endless. Just to illustrate the broadness of the uses, we can say that aluminum hydroxide is used as mordant in dyes, purifier for water, ingredient for cosmetics, and even in as an element for processes in photography. There are also applications of minor character in ceramics and construction. But the most important field where aluminum hydroxide is applied is medicine.
Applications in medicine
Given that aluminum hydroxide is able to neutralize acids, it serves as a natural antacid. Aluminum hydroxide also has a very useful property as it stimulates the immune system of human. Besides, various vaccines, including those that are used to treat hepatitis B, hepatitis A, and tetanus, are prepared using aluminum hydroxide. It can be also used for the treatment of kidney patients who have high level of phosphates in blood due to renal failure. This useful feature exists due to the ability of aluminum hydroxide to bind with phosphates. After binding with aluminum hydroxide, phosphates are flushed out of the human body easily.
There are various applications for aluminum hydroxide in the field of cosmetics. Aluminum hydroxide is most frequently used for the production of lipsticks, make-ups, and other products for skin care. It is used there because it is totally stable and non toxic for people. Sometimes aluminum hydroxide manufacturers of cosmetics also use aluminum hydroxide to produce cleansers for skin, suntan products, body lotions, and moisturizers. Personal care products, for example, shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants and many others, also involve using of aluminum hydroxide. Aluminum hydroxide is also sometimes used for protection of human skin.
Application in industry
Concrete could not be produced without aluminum hydroxide. On the stage of production of concrete aluminum hydroxide is added to cement. It is also very useful because cement with aluminum hydroxide addition dries rapidly if it is being exposed to heat. Ceramics and glass of both industrial and home application is manufactured using aluminum hydroxide. The most useful feature of aluminum hydroxide when it is added to glass consists in the fact that it makes glass heat-resistant. It is possible because, as have been already mentioned, aluminum hydroxide is not flammable and has high melting point. Aluminum hydroxide combined with polymers appears to be a very good fire retardant.
Use in textile field
Don’t forget that aluminum hydroxide doesn’t dissolve in water. For this reason, it can be applied in textiles by adding it in order to produce waterproof clothes. Besides, when it is needed to bind colors of vegetable dyes to fabric, aluminum hydroxide will also be very useful. In this case, aluminum hydroxide is used as a mordant. Any mordant is used in cases when fabrics are resistant to dyes. In such situations, a mordant allows penetrating fabric by the dye. Another instance of aluminum hydroxide usage is when it is used to make some dyes fire-resistant.
Other field of applications
Given how actively aluminum hydroxide is used in various fields we could not omit other field of its applications. Apart from what we have already mentioned above, aluminum hydroxide, as well as any other aluminum compound, is used to purify water in order to remove particles and various kinds of impurities. In manufacturing of inks aluminum hydroxide acts as an extender and preservative. Aluminum hydroxide can be also used as chromatography in laboratories in order to separate chemicals into different compounds.
Reactions in humans
Unlike some other aluminum compounds, aluminum hydroxide causes no adverse reaction in humans, at least towards the majority of persons. It is very broadly used in many fields of life and has plenty of applications in home use and industry. Most people may not know what aluminum hydroxide is or where this compound is used, but we already know it and useful features of aluminum hydroxide are obvious to all people interested in this subject.
Medical precautions of aluminum hydroxide
There is no surprise that the most important application of aluminum hydroxide is its medical application. Even though aluminum hydroxide is relatively safe to humans and is applied in various fields of human life, oral administration of aluminum hydroxide should be completed cautiously. It is always recommended to advise your doctor before starting taking aluminum hydroxide or if any problems occur during the taking.
If you have any health problems related to kidneys, including stones, constipation or disease, you should see a doctor or get an advice of a pharmacist before taking any medicine that contains aluminum hydroxide. Besides, the doctor’s advice is also necessary in case you are dehydrated or drink alcohol on a regular basis. Taking aluminum hydroxide for more than two weeks with no advice of your doctor is strongly not recommended. Besides, you should not take any other medications when taking aluminum hydroxide.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during your treatment with aluminum hydroxide, you must have an advice of your doctor. The same should be done if you are a breast-feeding mother. Effect of aluminum hydroxide on a nursing baby can be harmful. For this reason, you should consult the doctor of yours in such a situation.
How to take aluminum hydroxide?
You should take this aluminum compound only in the way this is specified on its label or how your doctor prescribes it. Don’t exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor and don’t take aluminum hydroxide for longer than it was prescribed.
To be sure that your dose is accurate, measure it with medicine spoon or cup instead of regular spoon. Don’t have a special medical device for measuring? Buy it or ask your doctor to provide it. Aluminum hydroxide should be taken with full glass of water. Usually aluminum hydroxide is taken before bedtime or between meals. Don’t take it longer than two months if your doctor hasn’t advised you otherwise. Aluminum hydroxide should be stored away from heat, light, and moisture.
Don’t worry if you have missed a dose. Usually aluminum hydroxide should not be taken regularly, but if it is, take it as soon as you remember about it. But if the time for the next dose has almost come, skip the missed dose. In case of an overdose with aluminum hydroxide, you should contact poison help service or seek emergency medical help. The symptoms of an overdose with aluminum hydroxide are weight loss, mood changes, confusion, constipation, and urinating less than usually or not urinating at all.
Side effects of aluminum hydroxide
There are some side effects of taking aluminum hydroxide. Some of them require you to seek emergency medical help, including allergic reactions like hives, swelling, and difficult breathing. You should also stop taking aluminum hydroxide and immediately contact your doctor if you have severe constipation or pain in stomach, black, tarry or bloody stools, pain during urinating, coughing with blood, tired feeling, weakness in muscles, or loss of appetite. There are also other side effects of taking aluminum hydroxide, so in case of any of them contact your doctor immediately.
Formula for Aluminum Hydroxidee
Properties for Aluminum Hydroxidee
Molar mass: 78.00 g/mol
Melting point: 300 °C (572 °F; 573 K)
Density: 2.42 g/cm3, solid