Extraction of metals of low reactivity: Mercury is a less reactive metal. The ore of mercury is called cinnabar, i.e. mercury (II) sulphide. The ore is heated in air and is oxidized to produce mercury (II) oxide. Mercury oxide is reduced to obtain mercury. The following reactions are involved in this process.
2HgS + 3O2→ 2HgO + 2SO2
Extraction of metals of medium reactivity: The metals in the middle of the reactivity series are also extracted by roasting followed by the process of reduction but the methods are somewhat different. Let’s take the example of zinc.
Extraction of Zinc: Zinc is placed in the middle of the reactivity series. It occurs as zinc blende (zinc oxide). It is first heated in the presence of air to obtain zinc oxide. This process is shown by following equation:
2ZnS + 3O2→ 2ZnO + 2SO2
After that, zinc oxide is reduced to obtain pure zinc metal. The reduction is done in the presence of carbon. This can be shown by following equation.
ZnO + C Zn + CO
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