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Aluminium oxide (Al2O3) is a common industrial mineral with the formula Al(OH). It is found in nature as various bauxite minerals and as corundum, which is fused into ceramics. It has many commercial uses, including as a refractory material, polishing and abrasive materials, and as a catalyst in the manufacture of aluminium metal. It is also an important ingredient in body armour and bulletproof windows.
Granular aluminium oxide is an interesting candidate for quantum electronic devices, since it has both a low normal state sheet resistance and a high superconducting temperature. Recent electric noise measurements show that it is a Kondo-like material with a large magnetic field dependence of the noise amplitude. This is attributed to spin-flip scattering of conduction electrons by interface magnetic moments in the disordered film.
The chemically versatile Al(OH)3 is soluble in Bayer solutions and can be used to make alumina and titanium dioxide. It is also a popular coating for refractory ceramics and aluminates. Its oxidative properties allow it to form an insoluble passivation layer on exposed metallic aluminium, which makes it resistant to corrosion. This layer can be deposited on the surface of the metal by a process called anodising, which can improve the mechanical and electrical properties of the alloy.
Short-term exposure to dusts containing aluminium oxide can cause eye and respiratory irritation. Long-term exposure may lead to fibrosis of the lung and pneumoconiosis. It is also a skin irritant. It is an indirect additive used in food contact substances by the FDA.