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The process of reducing a metallic oxide to the metal and producing great heat by mixing finely divided aluminum with the oxide, which is reduced as the aluminum is oxidized.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an aluminothermal process for the preparation of metals and alloys by the reduction of metallic oxides by means of aluminum. A layer of material in powder form is poured into a melting form or crucible and reacted with an ignitor mix. If during the reduction excessive heat is generated, aluminothermy is performed outside the furnace without supplying heat externally, a high temperature (1,900–2,400°C) is developed, and the process proceeds rapidly, while the metal and slag being formed are kept well separated from each other. If insufficient heat is developed, a heating additive is added to the layer or the melting process is performed in arc furnaces (electric furnace aluminothermy). In the Soviet Union electric furnace aluminothermy is widely used. Aluminothermy is used in the production of low carbon alloys of metals difficult to reduce (titanium, niobium, zirconium, boron, chromium, and others), for the welding of rails and steel castings, and also for the production of the refractory thermitecorundum.

Aluminothermy was discovered by the Russian scientist N. N. Beketov (1859), and the industrial process for use outside a furnace was perfected by the German chemist H. Goldschmidt (1898).


Pliner, Iu. L., S. I. Suchil’nikov, and E. A. Rubinshtein. Aliuminotermicheskoe proizvodstvo ferrosplavov i ligatur. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.