Extracting Metals

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  • Extracting Metals
    • Most metals exist as chemical compounds found in rocks - ores
      • Need to be extracted from ores
      • Ores must contain enough metal to make it economic to extract
      • Ores are mined and may be concentrated before the metal is extracted and purified
      • Gold and Platinum are found as pure elements as they've never reacted with other elements like oxygen
    • Ores require chemical reaction to extract metals
      • Extracted either by heating them with carbon or by electrolysis
      • Iron is extracted by heating its ore
        • Iron oxide with carbon in the form of coke inside a blast furnace
        • Iron is reduced - oxygen is removed, carbon is oxidised in process
    • Aluminium is extracted from its ore by electrolysis
      • Positive aluminium ions move towards negative electrode
      • More expensive method of extraction - requires large amounts of energy
      • More reactive metals cost more to extract


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