This assignment will help you to become familiar with smelting and the undergoing process it takes to extract metal from ore. Smelting is simply the production of metal, this process requires heat and chemical reducing agents to help break down the ore or helps it to decay. To get the appropriate high temperature for smelting a furnace is made with air-draft force, when the ore is decayed, it let other elements come off as gases or slags. Slags are stony waste matters which are separated from the metal during the smelting of the ore.
Smelting is often confused with melting but it has two different concepts smelting is converting ore to its purest form while melting is converting solid to liquid. Smelting melts the ore for a chemical change that separates the metal and reduces or refines it. Charcoal was the universal fuel until coke was introduced in the 18th century in England. Some deposition of ore contains Magnetite, hematite, limonite, goethite, copper, and siderite.
Although smelting has some great advantages, it also has some major disadvantages these are air pollution, water pollution, acid rain, and the health of the workers. Smelting is a toxic air pollutant, some chemicals presents are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen fluoride which ends up in the atmosphere. Smelting can also cause water pollution as waste products from the process include liquid waste. Whenever ore is being disposed of it is done so by water as it cools down the leftover materials nevertheless sometimes accident drainage occurs allowing this toxic waste to enter the environment once more.
The contaminated water consists of toxic chemicals such as lead and chromium which are very hazardous to aquatic, plant, and animal life. As a result of the plant pollution caused by smelting, acid rain may be produced as sulfuric acid. It is being emitted from plants which then become trapped in the atmosphere. Acid rain causes erosion on land and can cause physical harm to plants and animals as well. Concerning one’s health when working at a smelting plant/ site it poses a greater risk of being exposed to toxic chemicals when inhaled as it can cause internal harm to organs.
There are two types of smelting, they are Reduction and Matte Smelting. Reduction smelting can be used by carbon to reduce the ore by flux to give molten metal and slag, (Flux is the action of flowing out). Matte smelting is the production of matte and slag with the use of reducing agents. Reduction smelting is done by a blast furnace or electric furnace, while Matte smelting is done by a ‘reverberatory furnace’ or ‘flash smelter’ (with the flash smelter being a new technology that uses pure oxygen), it causes a chemical reaction in the smelter to react more powerful. Thermal energy released by these reactions needs very little energy to keep the furnace hot. In smelting, three processes occur hydrometallurgical, pyrometallurgical, and vapor-metallurgical technologies. Hydrometallurgical is a technique used in the extractive method used to obtain metals from their ores. This involves solutions that are used for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and leftover materials. Pyrometallurgical technologies consist of the thermal treatment of minerals from ores and concentrate to bring out physical and chemical transformations within the materials to let them be better able to recover the valuable metals. This treatment may produce pure metals, or intermediate compounds or alloys, to be further processed. Examples of elements extracted by the pyrometallurgical processes include elements like chromium iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and tin. Most of the pyrometallurgical process requires energy to better sustain the temperature at which the process can take place. The energy is usually in the form of combustion or electrical heat. Lastly, vapor-metallurgical is the refinement of impure substances.