Alanes are believed to be the mass transport intermediate in many hydrogen storage reactions and thus important for understanding rehydrogenation kinetics for alanates and AlH3. Combining density functional theory (DFT) and surface infrared (IR) spectroscopy, we provide atomistic details about the formation of alanes on the Al(111) surface, a model environment for the rehydrogenation reactions. At low coverage, DFT predicts a 2-fold bridge site adsorption for atomic hydrogen at 1150 cm(-1), which is too weak to be detected by IR but was previously observed in electron energy loss spectroscopy. At higher coverage, steps are the most favorable adsorption sites for atomic H adsorption, and it is likely that the AlH3 molecules form (initially strongly bound to steps) at saturation. With increasing exposures AlH3 is extracted from the step edge and becomes highly mobile on the terraces in a weakly bound state, accounting for step etching observed in previous STM studies. The mobility of these weakly bound AlH3 molecules is the key factor leading to the growth of larger alanes through AlH3 oligomerization. The subsequent decomposition and desorption of alanes is also investigated and compared to previous temperature programmed desorption studies.