Metallurgy - Definition & Processes

What is Metallurgy?


Metallurgy is defined as a process that is used for the extraction of metals in their pure form. The compounds of metals mixed with soil, limestone, sand, and rocks are known as minerals. Metals are commercially extracted from minerals at low cost and minimum effort. These minerals are known as ores. A substance which is added to the charge in the furnace to remove the gangue (impurities) is known as flux. Metallurgy deals with the process of purification of metals and the formation of alloys.

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Steps in Metallurgical Process

The various processes involved in extracting metals from their ores and refining them for use are referred to as metallurgy.

The following are the various steps in the metal extraction or metallurgical process:

  • Crushing and grinding the ore.
  • The concentration of ore, is also known as ore enrichment.
  • Metal extraction from concentrated ore.
  • Impure metals are refined or purified.

Copper Flash Smelting Process

Copper Flash Smelting Process

Principles of Metallurgy:

The metallurgical process can be classified as the following:

1. Crushing and grinding: The first process in metallurgy is crushing of ores into a fine powder in a crusher or ball mill. This process is known as pulverization.

2. The concentration of ores: The process of removing impurities from ore is known as a concentration of minerals or ore dressing. In metallurgy, we concentrate the ores mainly by the following methods.

3. Hydrolytic method: In this method, we pour the ore over a sloping, vibrating corrugated table with grooves. A jet of water is allowed to flow over the surface. The denser ore particles settle in the grooves, and the impurities are washed away by water.

4. Magnetic separation: In this case, the crushed ore is placed on a conveyor belt. This belt rotates around two wheels in which one of the wheels is magnetic, and therefore the magnetic particles get attracted to the magnetic wheel and fall apart from the non-magnetic particles.

5. Froth floatation: In this process, we take the crushed ore in a large tank which contains oil and water. A current of compressed air is passed through it. The ore gets wet by oil and is separated from the impurities in the form of froth. Ore is lighter, and so it comes on the surface and impurities are left behind.

6. Roasting and calcination: In metallurgy, the process of heating a concentrated ore in the presence of oxygen is known as roasting. This process is applied in the case of sulfide ores. For ores containing carbonate or hydrated oxides, heating is done in the absence of air to melt the ores, and this process is known as calcination.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Metallurgy


Name the various processes involved in ore concentration.

The various processes involved in ore concentration are as follows:

The various processes involved in ore concentration are as follows:

  1. electromagnetic separation
  2. froth flotation method
  3. Hydraulic washing method

Distinguish between roasting and calcination.

Roasting is the process of heating ore in the presence of air, whereas calcination is the process of heating ore in the absence of air.


Why is Purification of extracted metals needed?

The metal obtained from the extraction of metal from ore is frequently impure. It frequently contains impurities such as carbon, silicon, phosphorus, and so on.

The method of refining any metal is determined by its nature and the nature of its impurities. As a result, various methods are employed in this regard. The electrolytic method is the most important method and yields very pure metal.


Why is Reduction done?

Ore is reduced to extract the metal from it. Reduction is typically accomplished through one of the methods listed below.

  • By Coke
  • By legal decomposition of molten salts

Define Smelting.

Smelting is the application of heat to ore in order to extract a base metal. It’s a type of extractive metallurgy. Many metals, including silver, iron, copper, and other base metals, are extracted from their ores using it.

We have briefly seen the process of metallurgy used commercially for the extraction of different elements. For any further queries, install BYJU’S – The Learning App and explore an innovative approach to learning.

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  1. great!

  2. best defination

  3. awesome explanation. thanks lot sir

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  5. It’s very useful for preparation . It’s very nice