C1 3.3: Aluminium and titanium

Extracting aluminium

Extracting titanium

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Extracting aluminium

  • Aluminium is a reactive metal so carbon cannot be used to displace it from its oxide, instead, electrolysis is used.
  • Electrolysis is when an electric current is passed through molten aluminium oxide to break it down.
  • The aluminium is first mined into an ore (containing aluminium oxide mixed with impurities) and the oxide must first be melted before electolysis can take place.
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Extracting titanium

  • Titanium is not particulary reactive so carbon can be used to displace it from its oxide, but this makes it very brittle.
  • Instead, a more reactive metal is used to do this: magnesium or sodium.
  • Before displacement of titanium can take place, the titanium must be processed and this involves seperating the titanium oxide and converting it into a chloride.
  • The chloride is then distilled to purify it and then the titanium is ready to be displaced.
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