Briefly explain any three methods for the refining of metals.


(i) Distillation – in order to obtain the pure metal as a distillate, the impure metal block is evaporated. This method can be used for metals with low boiling points such as zinc or mercury.

(ii) Liquation – Metals with low boiling points are made to flow on a sloped surface, thereby separating them from the impurities which have higher boiling points.

Example: Tin can be refined via this method.

(iii) Zone Refining – the principle of this method is that impurities are more soluble in their melt state when compared to the corresponding solid state. A mobile heater moves along the metal block/rod and the impurities move along with it.

Example: Silicon and Germanium are generally purified via this method.

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