Extracting metals

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 17-04-13 19:02

Extracting metals

Metals are found in the Earth's crust. Rocks that contain the metals are called ores

Unreactive metals are found as elements because they are pure and not mixed with any other element such as oxygen e.g. gold- these do not need to be separated 

Reactive metals are found as compounds because they are mixed with another element like oxygen e.g. lead oxide

Anything above carbon in the reactivity series is extracted by electrolysis.

Anything below copper is extracted as it is- found pure and on their own

Anything below carbon and above copper is separated with carbon

It depends on two reasons why a metal should be extracted:

1) how easy it is to extract it from its ore

2) how much metal the ore contains

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How do we extract metals?

It depends where the metal is in the reactivity series to how you extract it

A more reactive metal will displace a less reactive metal from its compound

Carbon (non-metal) will displace less reactive metals from their oxides

We can heat the metal oxide with carbon, the carbon removes the oxygen from the metal oxide to form carbon dioxide leaving the metal separated

metal oxide + carbon = metal + carbon dioxide

lead oxide + carbon  =  lead + carbon dioxide

  PbO         +      C    =   Pb    + CO2

We call the removal of oxygen from a compound chemical reduction!

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