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Extraction and Reduction of Metals.

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Extraction and Reduction of Metals Metals are usually obtained from their minerals, by a process called reduction. There are several most common occurring metals found in the earths crust. Most of these are found in the form of minerals or ores. The unreactive metals gold and platinum, and the more reactive metals copper, silver and mercury are found as pure metals in the earths crust. Most other metals are combined with other elements in the form of minerals, such as sodium. When reducing a metal, several factors need to be taken into consideration. These include- * The energy requirements - Metals act as reducing agents, which are oxidised when they donate electrons to other atoms. The energy formation can be worked out from known values. The order from metals which most easily lose electrons, to least easily lose electrons is K Na Ca Mg Al Zn Fe Pb Cu Hg Ag Ti * The cost of the reductant (compound which provides the electrons) ...read more.


C + O2 2CO2 The unreacted coke then reacts with the carbon dioxide formed from the high temperature, to form carbon monoxide. CO2 + C 2CO The carbon monoxide reduces the iron (III) oxide at around 1200oc. Fe2O3 + 3CO 2Fe + 3CO2 In the hottest part of the furnace (lower down) the remaining coke reacts directly with iron oxide. Fe2O3 + 3C 2Fe + 3CO The other product form is slag, which contains impurities from the ore combined with lime, and is mostly calcium silicate. The main limitations of using this method is that iron can only be extracted from its ores at very high temperatures, using a large amount of energy, costing a lot of money. To solve this problem, the production is operated continuously, 24 hours a day for several years without break, this minimises costs. The other main danger is that the use of raw materials, and should the production fail or input stop, the delay and restart could cost millions of pounds. ...read more.


Extraction of Titanium metal This is done using a process called the Kroll Process. It starts by converting Titanium (IV) oxide with chloride TiCl4, by heating it with carbon in chlorine gas. TiO2 + 2Cl2 + 2C TiCl4 + 2CO Titanium chloride can be purified using fractional distillation. Titanium is then extracted from the chloride using the Kroll Process. Titanium (IV) chloride and liquefied magnesium are heated in an unreactive inert atmosphere of helium or argon gas. The reduction reaction is a displacement. TiCl4 + 2Mg Ti + 2MgCl2 The method only has a limited use because the procedure is a batch process, the furnace does not operate continuously, but it is cooled after each operation so that the titanium can be removed. Titanium metal is very strong. It also has a very low density, and does not corrode even under the most extreme conditions. It also has an excellent strength at high temperatures. Because of these properties, it is widely used for the requirements of jet turbines, which work at extreme temperatures and pressure, over a long period of time. Vinu Giridharan Chemistry 1 ...read more.

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