What is electrometallurgy?

Electrometallurgy is a technique that uses electrical energy to produce metals by the process of electrolysis. Electrometallurgy is usually the end stage in metal production and is therefore preceded by pyro- or hydrometallurgical operations. Electrolysis is used as a final refining stage in pyrometallurgical metal production (electrorefining) and it is also used for the reduction of a metal from an aqueous metal salt solution produced by hydrometallurgy (electrowinning).

The electrometallurgical processes can be categorized into four main groups:

  • Electrowinning: It is the extraction of metals by electrodeposition from aqueous solution or melts of their salts.
  • Electrorefining:  It is the purification of metals by electrolysis
  • Electroplating: It is the treatment that modifies the surface of a metal or occasionally a non-metal, without changing
    its bulk properties
  • Electroforming: It is the  manufacture of articles by electrodeposition


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