This Chemistry quiz is called 'Chemistry - Extracting Reactive Metals' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at high school. Playing educational quizzes is a user-friendly way to learn if you are in the 9th or 10th grade - aged 14 to 16.
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In high school, Science students will look at some of the materials used in building, such as limestone or metals. This quiz looks in particular at extracting reactive metals.
The rocks of the Earth's crust contain metals in the form of metal compounds like iron oxide and aluminum oxide. These are often mixed with other substances and where they occur in a high enough concentration, we call them ores. An ore is a rock from which a metal can be extracted economically.
Ores are mined from the ground on a large scale. They often need to be concentrated even more before the metal is extracted and purified. The economics of using a particular ore may change over time. For example, as a metal becomes rarer, an ore that only has a low concentration of the metal may be used when it was previously considered too expensive to mine.
Many ores are the oxides of a metal and when metal oxides are reduced (have their oxygen removed), the metal is left. How this is done depends on the reactivity of the metal. The extraction of reactive metals like aluminum is usually carried out by using electrolysis. That is relatively easy nowadays, there is plenty of electricity available and so aluminum is a commonly used metal.
But this wasn't always the case. Aluminum ore is extremely difficult to melt and before the 'easy' method of melting it had been discovered, the only way of producing aluminum was to displace it from its compounds using an even more reactive metal. So only very rich people could afford things made from aluminum - in fact one of the ways that they showed off their wealth in the middle of the nineteenth century was to provide dinner guests with flatware made from aluminum instead of silver!
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