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  1. Preliminary treatment. In general, there is an initial treatment of the ores to make them suitable for the extraction of the metals. This usually involves crushing or grinding the ore, concentrating the metal-bearing components, and sometimes treating these substances chemically to convert them into compounds that are easier to reduce to the metal.
  2. Smelting. The next step is the extraction of the metal in the molten state, a process called smelting, which includes reduction of the metallic compound to the metal. Impurities may be removed by the addition of a compound that forms a slag—a substance with a low melting point that can be readily separated from the molten metal.
  3. Refining. The final step in the recovery of a metal is refining the metal. Low boiling metals such as zinc and mercury can be refined by distillation. When fused on an inclined table, low melting metals like tin flow away from higher-melting impurities. Electrolysis is another common method for refining metals.

Isolation of iron

The early application of iron to the manufacture of tools and weapons was possible because of the wide distribution of iron ores and the ease with which iron compounds in the ores could be reduced by carbon. For a long time, charcoal was the form of carbon used in the reduction process. The production and use of iron became much more widespread about 1620, when coke was introduced as the reducing agent. Coke is a form of carbon formed by heating coal in the absence of air to remove impurities.

The first step in the metallurgy of iron is usually roasting the ore (heating the ore in air) to remove water, decomposing carbonates into oxides, and converting sulfides into oxides. The oxides are then reduced in a blast furnace that is 80–100 feet high and about 25 feet in diameter ( [link] ) in which the roasted ore, coke, and limestone (impure CaCO 3 ) are introduced continuously into the top. Molten iron and slag are withdrawn at the bottom. The entire stock in a furnace may weigh several hundred tons.

A diagram of a blast furnace is shown. The furnace has a cylindrical shape that is oriented vertically. A pipe at the lower left side of the figure is shaded yellow and is labeled “Slag.” It connects to an interior chamber. Situated at a level just below this piping on the right side of the figure is another pipe that is shaded orange. It opens at the lower right side of the figure. The orange-shaded substance at the bottom of the chamber that matches the contents of the pipe to its right is labeled “Molten iron.” The pipe has an arrow exiting to the right pointing to the label “Outlet.” Just above the slag and molten iron regions is narrower tubing on both the left and right sides of the chamber which lead slightly up and out from the central chamber to small oval shapes. These shapes are labeled, “Preheated air.” The region just above the points of entry of these two pipes or tubes into the chamber is a white region in which small rust-colored chunks of material appear suspended. This region tapers slightly to the bottom of the furnace. The region above has an orange background in which small rust-colored chunks are similarly suspended. This region fills nearly half of the interior of the furnace. Above this region is a grey shaded region. At the very top of the furnace, black line segments indicate directed openings through which small rust-colored chunks of material appear to be entering the furnace from the top. This material is labeled, “Roasted ore, coke, limestone.” Exiting the grey shaded interior region to the right is a pipe. An arrow points right exiting the pipe pointing to the label “C O, C O subscript 2, N subscript 2.” At the right side of the figure, furnace heights are labeled in order of increasing height between the outlet pipes, followed by temperatures and associated chemical reactions. Just above the pipe labeled, “Outlet,” no chemical equation appears right of, “5 f t, 1510 degrees C.” To the right of, “15 f t, 1300 degrees C,” is the equation, “C plus O subscript 2 right pointing arrow C O subscript 2.” To the right of, “25 f t, 1125 degrees C,” are the two equations, “C a O plus S i O subscript 2 right pointing arrow C a S i O subscript 3” and “C plus C O subscript 2 right pointing arrow 2 C O.” To the right of, “35 f t, 945 degrees C,” are the two equations, “C a C O subscript 3 right pointing arrow C a O plus C O subscript 2,” and, “C plus C O subscript 2 right pointing arrow 2 C O.” To the right of, “45 f t, 865 degrees C,” is the equation, “C plus C O subscript 2 right pointing arrow 2 C O.” To the right of, “55 f t, 525 degrees C,” is the equation “F e O plus C O right pointing arrow F e plus C O subscript 2.” To the right of, “65 f t, 410 degrees C,” is the equation, “F e subscript 3 O subscript 4 plus C O right pointing arrow 3 F e O plus C O subscript 2.” To the right of “75 f t, 230 degrees C,” is the equation, “3 F e subscript 2 O subscript 3 plus C O right pointing arrow 2 F e subscript 3 O subscript 4 plus C O subscript 2.”
Within a blast furnace, different reactions occur in different temperature zones. Carbon monoxide is generated in the hotter bottom regions and rises upward to reduce the iron oxides to pure iron through a series of reactions that take place in the upper regions.

Near the bottom of a furnace are nozzles through which preheated air is blown into the furnace. As soon as the air enters, the coke in the region of the nozzles is oxidized to carbon dioxide with the liberation of a great deal of heat. The hot carbon dioxide passes upward through the overlying layer of white-hot coke, where it is reduced to carbon monoxide:

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

The carbon monoxide serves as the reducing agent in the upper regions of the furnace. The individual reactions are indicated in [link] .

The iron oxides are reduced in the upper region of the furnace. In the middle region, limestone (calcium carbonate) decomposes, and the resulting calcium oxide combines with silica and silicates in the ore to form slag. The slag is mostly calcium silicate and contains most of the commercially unimportant components of the ore:

Questions & Answers

Differentiate between latent heat and specific latent heat of fusion and vaporization
Amos Reply
Ans: The amount of heat energy released or absorbed when a solid changing to liquid at atmospheric pressure at its melting point is known as the latent heat of fusion. while Vaporization of an element or compound is a phase transition from the liquid phase to vapor.
a student was required to prepare 500cm of 1.0M solution of glucose(C6H12O6). (C=12, H=1, O=16).determine a.molar mass of glucose b.amount of glucose in mole c.mass of glucose contained in the solution
Mac Reply
what is radio isotope
what are ionic compound
elepo Reply
where can I find the Arrhenius equation
onwuchekwa Reply
ln(k two/k one)= (- activation energy/R)(1/T two - 1/T one) T is tempuratue in Kelvin, K is rate constant but you can also use rate two and one instead, R is 8.314 J/mol×Kelvin
if ur solving for k two or k one you will need to use e to cancel out ln
what is an atom
Precious Reply
An atom is the smallest particle of an element which can take part in a chemical reaction..
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what is isomerism ?
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Formula for equilibrium
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is it equilibrium constant
what us atomic of molecule
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chemical formula for water
Muhammad Reply
what is elemental
Maryam Reply
what are the properties of pressure
How can water be turned to gas
what's a periodic table
Okiemute Reply
this can be defined as the systematic way of arranging element into vertical spaces called periods and horizontal spaces called groups on a table
how does carbon catenate?
obuke Reply
condition in cracking from Diesel to petrol
Brient Reply
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condition for cracking diesel to form kerosene
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what is periodic law
rotimi Reply
periodic law state that the physical and chemical properties of an element is the periodic function of their atomic number

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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