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Aluminum Foil 101

Aluminum Foil Information

A Guide to Aluminum Foil

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 known as electrolytic 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 the thickness of the aluminum foil.

Aluminum Foil Roll

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 are 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

Aluminum Foil Coil Roll

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 determine the number 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

Aluminum Foil Thickness Chart

Foil Type Foil Thickness in Mils Foil Thickness in Centimeter Foil Thickness in Millimeter
Standard .0004-.0007 .001016-.001778 .0101-.01778
Heavy Duty .0008-.001 .002032-.00254 .02032-.0254
Extra Heavy Duty .0011-.0016 .002794-.004064 .02794-.04064

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.

Foil Covered Baking Sheet

Cover containers and individual food items- Aluminum foil is commonly used to cover containers in homes 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 overdone on high heat.

Foil to Cover Food

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.

Round Aluminum Foil Pan

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.

Aluminum Foil Steam Table

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 cleanup.

Three Compartment Aluminum Foil Container

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.

Aluminum Foil Catering Tray

Line containers for increased insulation- Perforated aluminum foil sheets are great to line to-go containers for take out food. They assist in keeping food warmer for longer.

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.

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- Is 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! U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC. sales and stocks truckloads of aluminum foil annually. We test all foil products for thickness, strength, and storage characteristics.

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