Extraction of Metals 2

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Most metals are found in the Earth's crust as Minerals.  Minerals are ionic compounds.  If there is a sufficient amount of a mineral contained within a rock then it is known as an ore.  Most metals are extracted from oxidic oresTo obtain the pure metal the oxygen must be removed.

There are two main ways to extract metals:

  • Electrolysis
  • Blast Furnace

The method depends on the position of the metal in the reactivity series.  Metals above zinc are usually produced by electrolysis.

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Aluminium
  • Carbon
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper

Electrolysis of Aluminium Oxide

Aluminium is too high in the reactivity series to extract it from its ore using carbon reduction.  Instead, it is extracted by electrolysis using carbon (graphite)





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