Class 10 Extraction and refining of metals

### Topics to be covered

=> Occurrence of metals
=> Extraction of metals
=> Enrichment of ores
=> Extracting metals low in the activity series
=> Extracting metals in the middle of the activity series
=> Extracting metals towards the top of the activity series
=> Refining of metals

### 𝐎𝐂𝐂𝐔𝐑𝐑𝐄𝐍𝐂𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐌𝐄𝐓𝐀𝐋𝐒

color{green}(★) The earth’s crust is the major source of metals.

color{green}(★) Seawater also contains some soluble salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc.

color{green}(★) The elements or compounds, which occur naturally in the earth’s crust, are known as color{brown}("𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐬.")

color{green}(★) At some places, minerals contain a very high percentage of a particular metal and the metal can be profitably extracted from it. These minerals are called color{brown}("𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐬.")

### 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬

color{green}(•) Some metals are found in the earth’s crust in the free state.

color{green}(•) Some are found in the form of their compounds.

color{green}(•) The metals at the bottom of the activity series are the least reactive. They are often found in a free state. For example, gold, silver, platinum and copper are found in the free state. Copper and silver are also found in the combined state as their sulphide or oxide ores.

color{green}(•) The metals at the top of the activity series color{red}((K, Na, Ca, Mg \ \ "and" \ \ Al)) are so reactive that they are never found in nature as free elements.

color{green}(•) The metals in the middle of the activity series color{red}(( Zn, Fe, Pb, "etc".)) are moderately reactive. They are found in the earth’s crust mainly as oxides, sulphides or carbonates.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐱𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐱𝐲𝐠𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐚𝐛𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐡.

Thus on the basis of reactivity, we can group the metals into the following three categories ;

(i) Metals of low reactivity;

(ii) Metals of medium reactivity;

(iii) Metals of high reactivity.

Different techniques are to be used for obtaining the metals falling in each category.

Steps involved in the extraction of pure metal from ores are:

### 𝐄𝐧𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐡𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐎𝐫𝐞𝐬

color{green}(•) Ores mined from the earth are usually contaminated with large amounts of impurities such as soil, sand, etc., called color{brown}("𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐮𝐞.") The impurities must be removed from the ore prior to the extraction of the metal.

color{green}(•) The processes used for removing the gangue from the ore are based on the differences between the physical or chemical properties of the gangue and the ore.

### 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐋𝐨𝐰 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬

color{green}(•) Metals that are present low in the activity series are very unreactive.

color{green}(•) The oxides of these metals can be reduced to metals by heating alone. For example, cinnabar color{red}((HgS)) an ore of mercury when heated in air, is first converted into mercuric oxide color{red}((HgO)). Mercuric oxide is then reduced to mercury on further heating.

color{red}(2HgS(s) + 3O_2 (g) overset("Heat")→ 2HgO(s) + 2SO_2 (g))

color{red}(2HgO(s) overset("Heat")→ 2Hg(l) + O_2 (g))

color{green}(•) Similarly, copper which is found as color{red}(Cu_2 S) in nature can be obtained from its ore by just heating in air.

color{red}(2Cu_2 S + 3O_2 (g) overset("Heat")→ 2Cu_2O (s) + 2SO_2 (g))

color{red}(2Cu_2O + Cu_2 S overset("Heat")→ 6 Cu(s) + SO_2 (g))

### 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬

color{green}(•) The metals in the middle of the activity series such as iron, zinc, lead, copper, etc., are moderately reactive. These are usually present as sulphides or carbonates in nature. It is easier to obtain a metal from its oxide, as compared to its sulphides and carbonates.

color{green}(•) Therefore, prior to reduction, the metal sulphides and carbonates must be converted into metal oxides.

color{green}(•) The sulphide ores are converted into oxides by heating strongly in the presence of excess air. This process is known as color{brown}("𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠.")

color{green}(•) The carbonate ores are changed into oxides by heating strongly in limited air. This process is known as color{brown}("𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.")

color{green}(•) The chemical reaction that takes place during roasting and calcination of zinc ores can be shown as follows –

color{green}("𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 :")

color{red}(2ZnS(s) + 3O_2 (g) overset("Heat")→ 2ZnO(s) + 2SO_2 (g))

color{green}("𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 :")

color{red}(ZnCO_3 (s) overset(" Heat")→ ZnO(s) + CO_2 (g))

color{green}(•) The metal oxides are then reduced to the corresponding metals by using suitable reducing agents such as carbon. For example, when zinc oxide is heated with carbon, it is reduced to metallic zinc.

color{red}(ZnO(s) + C (s) → Zn(s) + CO(g))

color{green}(•) Sometimes displacement reactions can also be used to reduce metal oxides to metals. The highly reactive metals such as sodium, calcium, aluminium, etc., are used as reducing agents because they can displace metals of lower reactivity from their compounds. For example, when manganese dioxide is heated with aluminium powder, the following reaction takes place –

color{red}(3MnO_2 (s) +4 Al (s) → 3 Mn(l) + 2Al_2O_3 (s) + " Heat")

color{green}(•) These displacement reactions are highly exothermic. The amount of heat evolved is so large that the metals are produced in the molten state. In fact, the reaction of iron(III) oxide color{red}((Fe_2O_3 )) with aluminium is used to join railway tracks or cracked machine parts. This reaction is known as the thermit reaction.

color{red}(Fe_2O_3 (s) + 2Al(s) → 2Fe(l) + Al_2O_3 (s) + " Heat ")

### 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬

color{green}(•) The metals that are present high up in the reactivity series are highly reactive.

color{green}(•) They cannot be obtained from their compounds by heating with carbon. For example, carbon cannot reduce the oxides of sodium, magnesium, calcium, aluminium, etc., to the respective metals. This is because these metals have more affinity for oxygen than carbon.

color{green}(•) These metals are obtained by electrolytic reduction. For example, sodium, magnesium and calcium are obtained by the electrolysis of their molten chlorides.

color{green}(•) The metals are deposited at the cathode (the negatively charged electrode), whereas, chlorine is liberated at the anode (the positively charged electrode). The reactions are –

color{green}("At cathode :") color{red}(Na^(+) + e^(-) → Na )

color{green}("At anode :") color{red}(2Cl^(-) → Cl_2 + 2 e^(-))
Similarly, aluminium is obtained by the electrolytic reduction of aluminium oxide.

### 𝐑𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬

color{green}(•) The metals produced by various reduction processes described above are not very pure but contain impurities that must be removed so as to obtain pure metals. So, the most widely used method for refining impure metals is color{brown}("𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠.")

color{green}(• \ \ "𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐑𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 :") Many metals, such as copper, zinc, tin, nickel, silver, gold, etc., are refined electrolytically. In this process, the impure metal is made the anode and a thin strip of pure metal is made the cathode. A solution of the metal salt is used as an electrolyte. The apparatus is set up as shown in Fig. 3.12. On passing the current through the electrolyte, the pure metal from the anode dissolves into the electrolyte.

An equivalent amount of pure metal from the electrolyte is deposited on the cathode. The soluble impurities go into the solution, whereas, the insoluble impurities settle down at the bottom of the anode and are known as color{brown}("𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐝.")