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Extraction of Metals

In this worksheet. students will explore the world around them, think about how many things are made from metals and where we get metals from.

'Extraction of Metals' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Chemistry: Materials

Curriculum subtopic:   Metals and Carbon in Reactivity Series

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

When metals are discovered in nature they are not generally found as a pure metal, but as part of a compound. This is because, over a very long period of time, the metal has reacted with oxygen in the air and reacted with water. 


When metals are found in this state they are called ores.



Copper ore

An example of an ore containing copper


The less reactive metals, such as gold and platinum, are found as a pure metal, because they are very unreactive. All other metals have to be removed from their ores


 Panning for gold

Panning for gold.


Unreactive metals are easily removed from their ores. However, the more reactive the metal the more difficult it is to remove.
Shown below is a table of what process must be undertaken to remove metals from their ores:
The unreactive metals are removed form their ores simply by heating. Metals such as zinc, nickel, tin, lead and copper need to be heated with carbon (or carbon monoxide) to extract them. The more reactive metals require electrolysis (a technique involving electricity) to achieve this. Iron, however, is removed in a blast furnace, like the one below:
Metal production by melting
Let's find out more about metals and their extraction.

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