Aluminium foil (or aluminum foil), often referred to with the misnomer tin foil, is aluminium prepared in thin metal leaves with a thickness less than 0.2 mm (7.9 mils); thinner gauges down to 6 micrometres (0.24 mils) are also commonly used. In the United States, foils are commonly gauged in thousandths of an inch or mils. Standard household foil is typically 0.016 mm (0.63 mils) thick, and heavy duty household foil is typically 0.024 mm (0.94 mils). The foil is pliable, and can be readily bent or wrapped around objects. Thin foils are fragile and are sometimes laminated to other materials such as plastics or paper to make them more useful. Aluminium foil supplanted tin foil in the mid 20th century.
Annual production of aluminium foil was approximately 800,000 tonnes (880,000 tons) in Europe and 600,000 tonnes (660,000 tons) in the U.S. in 2003. Approximately 75% of aluminium foil is used for packaging of foods, cosmetics, and chemical products, and 25% used for industrial applications (e.g. thermal insulation, cables and electronics). It can be recycled.
In North America, aluminium foil is known as aluminum foil. It was popularised by Reynolds Metals, the leading manufacturer in North America. In the United Kingdom and United States it is, informally, widely called tin foil, for historical reasons (similar to how aluminium cans are often still called "tin cans"). Metallised films are sometimes mistaken for aluminium foil, but are actually polymer films coated with a thin layer of aluminium. In Australia,
aluminium foil is widely called alfoil.