3 Methods of Processing Metals are listed and explicated in this article. We do hope that you find it informative. Happy reading!
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Metals are needed in the construction of buildings and furniture. In their natural form, metals occur as mineral ore. The mineral ore is in the ground and has to be dug up for processing. The dug-up ore contains an impurity called gangue.
The real metal is extracted from mineral ore during processing. Different methods of processing are used to extract the metal from the ore.
3 Methods of Processing Metals
Three methods of producing metals are discussed in this article. These methods include smelting, casting, and mining.
It is a process by which a metal is obtained from its ore. The ore is heated beyond the melting point and a reducing agent such as coke is added to bring out the metal from the ore.
Smelting is usually done in a blast furnace and the process of extracting iron or metal from iron ore is described below:
The iron ore, which is dug from the ground, is put in the blast furnace. The iron ore contains some impurities in the form of nonmetallic compounds called gangue.
To remove these impurities, a reducing agent such as coke is added to the ore. The heat of a very high temperature is applied to melt the ore and remove the impurities.
The metal produced comes out in a molten form while the impurities come out as slag. The metal produced in the blast furnace is pure iron which has poor physical, magnetic, and electrical properties.
To remove its properties, some other elements such as carbon are added to it. Steel is produced by adding carbon to pure iron.
When two metals such as carbon and iron are mixed together, the result is an alloy. Besides carbon, some other alloying elements include nickel, silicon, manganese, chromium, tungsten, and titanium.
Casting is a process by which a liquid material is usually poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify.
The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process.
Metal Casting is one of the most common casting processes. Metal pattern is more expensive but is more stable and durable.
Metal pattern is used where repetitive production of castings is required in large quantities. Casting may be done in many ways. These include pressure die casting, chill casting, investment casting, and sand casting.
Pressure casting is done by forcing molten(liquid) metal into a mold at great Pressure. After a few moments, the molten metal will solidify and the ejected pressure casting is used to produce thin metallic components.
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In chill casting, the liquid metal is poured into a metallic mold at atmospheric pressure. Sand casting is the most common and most popular type of casting. This is because; it can be used to produce large and small, ferrous and nonferrous metals.
The first step in metal production always involves some form of Mining. It is through mining that metals such as gold and other precious metals are processed.