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GNVQ/Vocational Science - Reduction of Copper including methods of extracting metals (copper) in industry

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Reduction of Copper Carbonate Introduction Malachite is a rock, Cu2(CO3)(OH)2, Copper Carbonate Hydroxide and it is found in Shaba, Congo; Tsumeb, Nambia; Ural mountains, Russia; Mexico; several sites in Australia; England and several localities in the Southwestern United States especially in Arizona, USA. Copper, Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are the elements that make up malachite. The copper in Malachite can be extracted through a displacement reaction. A single-displacement reaction is where one element appears to move out of one compound and into another. This is usually written as: A + BX � AX + B This will occur if A is more reactive than B. (Malachite) Risk Assessment The open end of the boiling tube should be pointed away from any person so that anything that spits out it does not cause any harm. Wear goggles. The equipment is going to get very hot so you must be careful not to touch it until it cools. Method 1. Put 10 g of malachite powder into a large test tube and heat it gently until it turns black and stops rising in the test tube. 2. Allow the tube to cool. 3. Add 1 g of carbon powder and mix well. 4. Heat the mixture strongly until it turns red. 5. Let the mixture cool. ...read more.


The Industrial Process of Refining Copper Ore The raw ore first needs to be crushed into smaller pieces. The ore is crushed in to 25cm pieces and then using water and 13cm steel balls, the ore is ground up into 1cm pieces. The unwanted rock settles out using froth flotation, which concentrates the ore. Using a blast furnace, the copper ore is burnt with oxygen to produce matte, iron is removed as slag and sulphur comes off as sulphuric dioxide. The matte is placed into a converter furnace and air is blown through, which removes iron and sulphur to blister copper. Natural gas is blown into the anode furnace to burn off any remaining oxygen in the melt. The copper melt is cast into anodes where the anodes in the copper sulphate are refined to 99.99% pure, thus producing a 99.99% pure cathode. Industry uses much larger amounts of ore than in the lab. This improves the percentage yield as the more ore that is used, the more metal that can be extracted from it. Industry uses higher temperatures than in the lab, and also the heating process does not need to be repeated as it is as efficient as need be the first time round. ...read more.


Electrolysis is often a lot more expensive than extracting metal from an ore through the use of coke produced from cheap coal, as the electricity bill for the electrolysis of a metal is very high. Sometimes, more reactive metals such as aluminium cost more to extract than less reactive metals like iron. This being said, as copper is a lot less reactive than both carbon and iron it should be quite an expensive metal to extract Extracting Copper through Electrolysis: 1. After smelting, impure copper is poured into a block to form the positive anode. Previously purified copper is used to make the negative cathode. Both the anode and cathode are dipped into an electrolyte of copper sulphate solution. 2. An electrical current passes through the solution, causing electrolysis to happen - this, forming blue copper ions (Cu2+). 3. Now that we have gained positive ions, they become attracted to the negative cathode and react to form copper atoms. The mass of copper dissolving at the anode and the copper deposited on the cathode are equal - the concentration of the copper sulphate is constant. 4. Impurities found in the impure copper anode decline to the bottom of the copper electrolysis vessel, where it is poured off as waste, though sometimes can be valuable and contains other metals such as silver. ?? ?? ?? ?? Unit 3 Portfolio 1 1 ...read more.

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