What are car bodies made from? What is a coke can made from? What are electric wires made from?
Easy set of questions, right? The answer to all the above questions is metal (iron, aluminium, copper to be specific)
But how and where are these metals obtained from – do we find them pure and ready to go in the Earth? NO.
All of the metals mentioned above are found in their IMPURE forms in the Earth.
- Iron ORE
- Aluminium ORE
- Copper ORE
The word ORE just means rock. And all of these metals are found in their ore form in the Earth. In order to be useful, they need to be purified.
The first stage of purification usually requires reacting the ore with oxygen, in order to create an oxide of your meta. The second stage usually involves a reaction with carbon to remove the oxygen from the metal.
It is at this stage where you are now left with an IMPURE metal. It is in a far more purified state than the ore, but it is not ready for use. We need to perform electrolysis to make it pure.
The following lesson slides outline the way this process is carried out very easily. Check out below:
3. Electrolysis – the copper is loaded onto the anode in its impure state.
4. Electrolysis – the current is turned on and the copper becomes charged Cu2+ ions
5. The charged copper ions move to the cathode where they gain electrons and become neutral Cu atoms again.
See you next week!