We use this thin sheet of metal in our everyday lives, from wrapping food to cooking and keeping our food fresh. However, there are countless interesting things we never knew about this kitchen tool. How did it become so popular? Is it only used to wrap food? How does it contribute to science? Here are some surprising facts about aluminium foil, that you probably didn’t know, that will answer these questions:
The Tobler Story
If it weren’t for those triangular chocolate bars we call Toblerone, the aluminium foil wouldn’t be as widely used as it is today! The Swiss Chocolate maker, Tobler, made aluminium foil popular when he started using it to wrap his chocolate bars in them. People started realising its efficient use in the food industry, and in 1913 the United States started producing aluminium foil. From then on, it started growing in the commercial world exponentially.
Switch from Tin Foil to Aluminium
Tin foil was used long before aluminium. It is a rarer material than aluminium and it leaves a stronger taste in food. Nearly all tin was being imported in the United States in the 1940s, so Aluminium provided an easier alternative. It is abundant in production, it doesn’t leave any taste on food, and it is as soft as tin.
Aluminium Doesn’t Rust
Rust is a type of corrosion that occurs when the metal comes into contact with oxygen and water. The reason aluminium is suited for food packaging is that it does not rust at all when it comes into contact with water or any liquids.
Scientists Use It to Analyze Sun Conditions
Researchers and physicists use aluminium foil to explore the conditions inside stars and giant planets. In laboratories, scientists use powerful lasers and project them onto aluminium foil, essentially recreating conditions that are only found in the centre of the sun! In this way, we can see how a small tool in our kitchen is also crucially being used in advancing science.
It Can Help in Gardening
Aluminium is very efficient in reflecting sunlight. Hence, you can use it to line cardboard boxes and make sun boxes for plant sapling. The light will bounce off the aluminium foil and will reflect onto all parts of the plant making it healthy and full, instead of frail and weak. You can even use it beyond seed care. Many people use pieces of foil to keep pests and rodents away from their plants. If you are growing fruits in your garden, you can hang them on the trees to scare away birds that may eat the fruit. You can even tear pieces of foil and mix it with the mulch around the base of plants, to avoid the look of silver patches in your garden.
Used in Science Experiments
Foil can also be used to make a fun science experiment in your own home. Using materials that are easily available in your house, you can make a simple oven that is powered by the sun. You can help children learn science while having some fun with it! It’s made with the help of some cardboard, plastic wrap, aluminium foil and other smaller materials.
The way it works is, the foil reflects rays of sunlight directly onto the opening of the box. It goes through the plastic wrap and it heats up the air that is trapped inside. You can make simple food like baked potatoes, rice and vegetables, chocolate and cheese fondue to name a few.
Aluminium Foil is Indispensable in Daily Life
This thin sheet of metal is used in the food industry, packaging industry, and pharmaceutical industry. Around 7 billion aluminium foil containers are produced each year. From wrapping our food to medicine packets, it holds a significant role in our lives and we don’t realise it!
You probably won’t be able to look at foil the same way again after reading these facts. The same thing you use in your kitchen is also used in science labs!