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Extraction of Metals

History (continued).

After the Bronze Age came the Iron Age.
People discovered that a high temperature coal fire
could be used for the extraction of iron from iron ore.
The extraction of iron today is done in a blast furnace.

The Iron Age began in Asia and Africa in 1,100 B.C.
and came to Britain in 500 B.C.
In many ways, we are still in the Iron Age - take a look around.

Metals above carbon in the reactivity series
can only be extracted by electrolysis.
The discovery of electricity at the beginning of the nineteenth century
allowed the extraction of the more reactive metals.
Aluminium has been extracted on a large scale since about 1870,
3,000 years after the discovery of iron
and over 6,000 years after the discovery of bronze.

For common metals in general, the more reactive a metal is,
the harder it is to extract, and the later it was discovered.

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