Document and Entity Information (USD $)
In Billions, except Share data, unless otherwise specified
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2010
Feb. 15, 2011
Jun. 30, 2010
Document and Entity Information      
Document Type 10-K    
Amendment Flag false    
Document Period End Date Dec. 31, 2010    
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2010    
Document Fiscal Period Focus FY    
Trading Symbol ALB    
Entity Registrant Name ALBEMARLE CORP    
Entity Central Index Key 0000915913    
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31    
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer    
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   91,633,335  
Entity Well-known Seasoned Issuer Yes    
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes    
Entity Voluntary Filers No    
Entity Public Float     $ 3.6