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Introduction Methods of Extraction Preliminary Preparations (Froath Floatation) The Blast Furnace


Structure Operation

Rusting of Iron


Preparation of Ore Electrolytic Reduction Uses


Metals are found in the form of ores.

Metals form positive ions, which are reduced to neutral

atoms by gaining electrons.

There are different ways of reducing metal ores to metals.

These ways are based upon the reactivity of metals.

<Show Table>

Methods of Extraction
Electrolytic Reduction: Highly reactive metals form stable ions (in compounds). They break into ions in molten or in aqueous solution form. They can only be reduced by electrolysis in their molten states. Smelting (Reduction with Carbon) Middle order metals form less stable compounds. They can be reduced by heating with carbon, e.g. Zn, Fe, Sn, Pb, etc. Thermal Decomposition: Low-order metals form very unstable ions. They are decomposed by simple heating, e.g. Cu, Hg, Ag, etc.

Preliminary Preparation
Ores are a limited source. It the ore of middle order metals is not an oxide, it is roasted to form an oxide. Ores of metals contain impurities, hence they need to be concentrated. In this process, the useless impurities are removed by different methods. The most common method used is

It involves the following steps: The ore is crushed. It is mixed with oils and water. Air is blown through this mixture. Heavy particles deposit to the bottom. Light particles of the ore are entrapped in the froath, and skimmed off. The ore is then dried and /or roasted.

The Blast Furnace

STRUCTURE OF THE FURNACE: It is made of steel. It is lined with special refractory bricks. Its height is about 40 metres. Its maximum width is 25 feet. Main ores of iron are Haematite, Fe2O3 Magnetite, Fe3O4 Iron pyrites, FeS2 Siderite, FeCO3 The one mainly used is haematite. It is reduced in a blast furnace with carbon. The other raw material used is limestone. Limestone is used to remove the impurities through slag formation.


40 m

Refractory bricks

24 feet

Haematite, limestone and coke are added from the top. Hot air is blown from the bottom. STAGE 1: Carbon burns to form carbon dioxide, raising the temperature to 1900 oC. C (s) + O2 (g) CO2 (g) STAGE 2: This carbon dioxide rises up and is reduced to carbon monoxide on reacting with more carbon, reducing the temperature to 1100 oC. CO2 (g) + C (s) 2CO STAGE 3: The carbon monoxide reduces haematite to iron, which drops to the bottom in molten form (Pig Iron OR Cast Iron). Fe2O3 (s) + 3CO (g) 2Fe (l) + 3CO2 (g) Limestone decomposes to calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. CaCO3 (s) CaO (s) + CO2 (g) Carbon dioxide reacts with more carbon and forms carbon monoxide. Calcium oxide reacts with silicates to form slag. CaO (s) + SiO2 (s) CaSiO3 (l) <Show Animation> Slag floats over molten iron and is removed.

Steel is a material containing iron and a small proportion of carbon and other metal additives.
Pig Iron is fairly impure and, hence, less strong. It is converted to steel by various methods. Basic Oxygen Furnace method is one of them. THE PROCESS: Molten pig iron is fed into the furnace. Oxygen is blown, under high pressure, through water cooled lances. Non-metallic impurities are oxidized to gaseous oxides, which escape. Other non-gaseous impurities are removed by adding calcium oxide. Measured amounts of carbon and other metals are added to prepare the steel of required quality.
Oxygen gas

Waste gases

Water cooled lance brings in oxygen under pressure

Molten iron

150 300 tons of iron


<Show Examples>

It is a process by which iron changes to iron(III) oxide through its reaction with atmospheric oxygen and moisture.
The reaction takes place as: 4Fe (s) + 3O2 (g) + 2H2O (l) 2Fe2O3.H2O (s) It is a redox reaction because of the following changes: Oxidation: Fe (s) Fe3+ (s) + 3e Reduction: O (g) + 2e O2 (s) Air and moisture are necessary for rusting. HOW TO AVOID RUSTING: Painting Galvanizing Lubrication Sacrificial Protection

Aluminium is mostly found in the form of oxides. The most abundant oxide ore is BAUXITE, Al2O3.

It can not be reduced by carbon or hydrogen, as Al is a very reactive metal.

Bauxite is, hence, reduced by ELECTROLYSIS. Bauxite is first purified, the process consisting of the following steps:

It is crushed and dissolved in hot aqueous sodium hydroxide. Impurities being insoluble are removed by filtration. Cold water is added to the filtrate and Al2O3 precipitates out. This precipitate is then heated to form pure aluminium oxide, Alumina. This alumina is then electrolysed.

The Electrolytic Reduction Aluminium oxide is electrolyzed in molten form. (it is insoluble in water) Its melting point is very high. ( more than 2000 oC) It is dissolved in cryolite, Na3AlF6, to lower the melting point (about 980 oC) Electrolysis is done in a steel tank lined with graphite (the cathode) Graphite (carbon) anodes are dipped in the solution. Aluminium ions move towards the cathode and are neutralized.



(l) + 3e

Al (l)

Oxygen moves towards anode and loses electrons. 2O2 (l) O2 (g) + 4e

Due to high temperature, oxygen reacts with graphite anodes.

C (s) + O2 (g) CO2 (g) The graphite anodes are, hence, replaced periodically.

Though aluminium is reactive, it does not corrode easily. It reacts with air to form aluminium oxide. This oxide forms a protective covering, stopping further reaction. It is therefore, used in food containers, door handles, window frames, etc. Aluminium is Light and strong, and is used in aircraft structures. A good conductor, and is used in overhead cables. Malleable, and is used to make kitchen foils.

Methods of Extraction Metal


Main ore

Main constituent

Extraction method
Electrolytic reduction; the metal is deposited on the cathode

Calcium Magnesium Aluminium

Rock salt
Chalk, limestone Dolomite Bauxite

CaCO3 CaMg(CO3)2 Al2O3

Iron Tin Lead

Zinc blende
Haematite Tinstone Galena

Fe2O3 SnO2 PbS Extraction by heating with coke in a furnace


Copper pyrites

HgS Roasting the ore

Types of Steel
Iron and Alloys
Cast iron Wrought iron Mild, low carbon steel High Carbon steel Manganes steel Tungsten steel

Compositio n
96% Fe, 4% C 100% Fe 99.5% Fe, 0.5% C

Heavy and strong Very malleable Quite soft

Engine blocks Gates and chains Car bodies, machines

98.5% Fe, 1.5% C

Very tough

Drills, files

87% Fe, 13% Mn

Tough and durable

Springs, drills

95% Fe, 5% W 74% Fe, 18% Cr, 8% Ni

High tensile strength

Cutting tool edges

Stainless steel

Resists corrosion

Cutlery, chemical plants

The Blast Furnace

limestone Haematite

Fe2O3 (g) + 3CO (s) + 2Fe (l)+ 3CO2 (g)

600 oC

CO2 (g) + C (s) + 2CO (g)

1100 oC

CaCO3 (s) CaO (s)+ CO2 (g) CaO (s) + SiO2 CaSiO3 (l)

C (s) + O2 (g) CO2 (g) Hot air Slag

1900 oC

Hot air

Molten iron