Extraction of Metals

Extraction of Iron.

Iron is extracted from its ore in the blast furnace.

The main iron ore is called haematite.
Haematite is iron(III) oxide - Fe2O3.
The iron ore contains impurities, mainly silica (silicon dioxide).
Limestone (calcium carbonate) is added to the iron ore
which reacts with the silica to form molten calcium silicate
in the blast furnace.
The calcium silicate (called slag) floats on the liquid iron.

Since iron is below carbon in the reactivity series,
iron in the ore is reduced to iron metal by
heating with carbon (coke). It is actually carbon monoxide
which does the reducing in the blast furnace.

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