Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pyrometallurgy uses high temperatures to transform metals and their ores. These transformations may produce pure metals, or intermediate minerals or alloys, suitable as feed for other refining or commercial applications.
Solid-gas reactions are used to chemically tranform minerals.
As an example, roasting is used to remove sulfur from sulfide ores. The ore is heated in an oxidizing atmosphere such as air. Sulfides are oxidized by the oxygen in the air, with the sulfur liberated as sulfur dioxide gas, leaving an oxidized mineral. The metal oxides can then be purified by heating with coke or charcoal (forms of carbon), a reducing agent that liberates the oxygen as carbon dioxide leaving a refined mineral. Carbonate ores are also smelted with charcoal. Other materials are often added as flux, aiding the melting of the oxide ores.
The sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide produced in the process are significant air pollutants.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details