Aluminum Foil 101
Aluminum Foil- Aluminum is the third most abundant element on earth. It is extracted from bauxite. Bauxite is refined to make a pure aluminum oxide call alumina. The alumina is charged with an electrical current. This process is know as electrolic reduction. The metal produced from this process is added to a wide variety of alloys allowing them to provide specific characteristics suited for a variety of applications.
Aluminum foil manufacturers commonly use pure aluminum. In recent years it has become popular to add a variety of aluminum alloys engineered to add strength and reduce thickness of the aluminum foil.
Once the alloy mixture is determined it is melted and poured onto a cast and rolled to form a large sheet of aluminum foil. The rolling process is repeated until the desired thickness is reached. The main factors in reaching the desired thickness is roll pressure, mil speed, and rolling oils. As the aluminum foil is rolled into the desired thickness, it is spooled on large stock coils to hold the aluminum foil.
From the large coils the aluminum foil is unspooled, cut, and spooled onto smaller cardboard spools. Once the aluminum foil is spooled onto the smaller spools it is placed into boxes and prepared for shipping. The roll width, length, and thickness determines the amount of boxes per case, and cases per pallet.
For more information about the production of aluminum foil with illustrations and details about refining processes, visit madehow.com.
Common Kitchen Uses for Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil can be used to make a variety of containers as well as assist in a variety of kitchen applications. Below are a few common uses of aluminum foil:
Covering baking surfaces- Aluminum foil is great to cover or line any kind of baking surface such as: baking sheets, pans, skillets, etc. If properly greased, the aluminum foil can make clean up easy and economical.
Line containers for increased insulation- Perforated aluminum foil sheets are great to line to-go containers for take out. They assist in keeping food warmer for longer.
Cover containers and individual food items- Aluminum foil is commonly used to cover containers in home and restaurants to protect them for storage. Many manufacturers use aluminum foil to cover individually wrapped items to protect them. Cooks often use aluminum foil to protect delicate foods from becoming over done on high heat.
Make a quick funnel- When improvisation is a must, aluminum foil is ideal to put together a quick funnel for liquids or powders.
Manufacturers use aluminum foil to make disposable containers- There are a wide variety of disposable aluminum foil pans available. Below are some common types of disposable aluminum foil pans used in homes, restaurants, and catered events.
Round Aluminum Foil Pans- Made from a thicker gauge of aluminum foil than common kitchen aluminum foil, these round foil pans are very versatile and ideal for a variety of occasions.
Full or Half Aluminum Foil Steam Tables- Often used by organizers of large events, because they are versatile and can be used to cook and serve a variety of dishes. Find a variety of rectangle foil pans for sale.
Three Compartment Aluminum Foil Pans- In combination with a lid, these aluminum foil pans are great for serving a meal, keeping it warm, and promoting easy clean up.
Aluminum Catering Trays- Composed of thicker aluminum foil than the above mentioned foil pans, aluminum catering trays look great and are ideal for serving a variety of platters.
How do I know which aluminum foil to use?
Standard Aluminum Foil- Great for wrapping lighter individual items and covering containers for storage. Our El Dorado aluminum foil is .0005 thick and the Western Plastics brand standard aluminum foil is .0007 thick.
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil-To be used in cooking situations for lining pans and cooking sheets. Great for moderate heat. The Western Plastics heavy duty foil is .0009 thick.
Extra Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil- Ideal for high heat situations and heavy wrapping situations. Great for lining grills and coming in direct contact with flames. To be used for wrapping heavy meats such as briskets and slabs of ribs. The Western Plastics extra heavy duty foil is .0013 thick.
View the thickness of all aluminum foil strengths listed above!