Document and Entity Information - USD ($)
$ in Billions
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2018
Feb. 20, 2019
Jun. 30, 2018
Document And Entity Information [Abstract] [Abstract]      
Document Type 10-K    
Amendment Flag false    
Document Period End Date Dec. 31, 2018    
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2018    
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 Emerging Growth Company false    
Entity Small Business false    
Entity Shell Company false    
Entity Well-known Seasoned Issuer Yes    
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes    
Entity Voluntary Filers No    
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer    
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   105,753,864  
Entity Public Float     $ 10.2