These designers are using toxic waste to make gorgeous pottery

Aluminum is used in a wide rage of consumer electronics –perhaps even the phone or computer you’re probably reading this on right now. Every year, manufacturers dump 165 million tons of a toxic industrial waste called red mud, a by-product of the early refining process for aluminum, into huge disposal pits full of the sludge. After hundreds of tests, a group of students at the Royal College of Art have created a way to t ransform this toxic mud into beautiful ceramic pottery , proving that it could be used as a replacement material for clay or potentially even concrete. Working with materials scientists at Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium as well as a refinery in France, the students were able to use red mud to create pottery that looks almost like terra-cotta. The series of pots were aesthetically inspired by the material’s industrial beginnings, with shapes that resemble factory smokestacks. [Photo: courtesy Royal College of Art] Red mud is the result of the refining process for aluminum oxide or alumina , which is then smelted into aluminum . For every piece of aluminum oxide that’s refined, the process generates more than twice the amount of […]

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