Metallurgical Base

An introduction of metallurgy

About metallurgy:

Metallurgy is type of field where students study and research about improvement of science and technology for metals and alloys.  This science is applied to the production and industrialization of metals and the engineering of metal components for use in products for consumers and manufacturers. Metallurgy is a branch of science and technology which deals with purification of metal, properties of metals and production etc. As well as studies about physics and chemical behavior of metals and alloys. Metallurgy has two main categories such as chemical metallurgy and physical metallurgy. Chemical metallurgy deals with the reduction and oxidation of metals, and the chemical performance of metals and physical metallurgy deals with the mechanical properties of metals, and the physical performance of metals. Topic covers in physical metallurgy include crystallography, material characterization, mechanical metallurgy, phase transformations, and failure mechanisms.  

History of metallurgy:                         

Historically, metallurgy has predominately focused on the production of metals. In the ancient times, Small amounts of natural gold have been found in Spanish caves dating to the late Paleolithic period. But this process appears to have been invented by the Hittites in about 1200 BC, beginning the Iron Age. Historical developments in ferrous metallurgy can be found in a wide variety of past cultures and civilizations. The history of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent began prior to the 3rd millennium BCE and continued well into the British Raj. The progress of metallurgy started with the use of native copper and iron from meteorites as the metals were obtainable without smelting the metals from ores. It was soon discovered that copper could be shaped by hammering a fairly easy discovery simply involving hitting the copper with a hard object.

Metallurgy processes:

  • Chemical metallurgy: Chemical Metallurgy provides an understanding of the fundamental chemical principles in metallurgical process. Basically it deals with the domain of the reduction and oxidation of metals as well as other chemical reactions.
  • Physical metallurgy: Physical metallurgy is a systematic way of evaluating the physical properties of metals and alloys, and basically the fundamental applications of the theory of phase transformation within metallic and alloyed substances.
  • Extractive metallurgy: Extractive metallurgy is the field where study about obtaining valuable metals from an ore and then refining the removed raw metals into a ‘pure’ form. The field of ferrous and non-ferrous extractive metallurgy has specialties that are generically grouped into the categories such as

(1) Mineral processing

(2) Hydrometallurgy

(3) Pyrometallurgy

(4) Electrometallurgy

(1) Mineral processing: Mineral processing is a technique where separate the valuable minerals from the waste rock, or gangue.  Initially break down the ore to required sizes depending on the concentration process to be followed, by crushing, grinding, sieving etc. generally physical and chemical methods include magnetic separation, froth flotation, leaching etc., whereby the unwanted materials and impurities are removed from the ore and the base ore of the metal is concentrated.

(2) Hydrometallurgy: This is such type of process which is includes aqueous chemistry for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials. The first process in hydrometallurgy process is leaching which includes dissolution of the valuable metals into the aqueous solution or a suitable solvent. Purification and concentration processes occur after the solution is separated from the ore solids. We extract the valuable materials in form metallic state or as chemical component. The final recovery steps involves such as precipitation, cementation or electrometallurgical process.

(3) Pyrometallurgy: As we know it is a branch of extractive metallurgy. Basically pyrometallurgy process use for extraction and purification of metals by processes involving the application of heat. This process involve roasting, smelting, and refining. Roasting, or heating in air without fusion, transforms sulfide ores into oxides, the sulfur escaping as sulfur dioxide, a gas. Processes that produce molten products are collectively referred to as smelting operations.

(4) Electrometallurgy: Electrometallurgy is a method in extractive metallurgy that uses electrical energy to produce metals by electrolysis. This process takes place in some form of electrolytic cell. Most common type process is Electrowinning. It is an electrolysis process used to recover metals in aqueous solution. The metal of interest is plated onto the cathode, while the anode is an inert electrical conductor. Electro-refining is used to dissolve an impure metallic anode (typically from a smelting process) and produce a high purity cathode.

Conclusion: In this article, you read about introduction of metallurgy and its history, processes.  Thank you for reading this article hope it may help you to understand about basic of metallurgy. And visit for more article related to bio materials, electronic materials, advance materials and magnetic materials.

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K Yashdeep

Hye there..! I am Yashdeep Kamal. I completed my Bachelor in Technology(Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering). Engineer by passion, writer by choice. I have been writing about Composites, Ceramics, polymers, nanotechnology, advance materials and metallurgy etc. You can read about these topics here. Hope it may help you.

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