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A diagram is shown. At the center of the diagram is a T-shaped structure labeled, “Anode ( positive sign ),” that is on a mesh-like background labeled, “Iron screen.” The anode is connected to a box labeled, “Voltage source,” by a line, and the voltage source is connected to one of two L-shaped structures that surround the anode. They are labeled, “Cathode ( negative sign ).” Above the cathode on the right side of the diagram is a tube connected to a collection chamber labeled, “N a metal,” that has a lower outlet labeled, “N a outlet.” Surrounding all of these components is a blue background labeled, “Molten N a C l,” and a series of tubes that form a square outside the diagram. They have an opening in the upper right corner labeled, “Inlet for N a C l.” At the top of the diagram is a large tube with an upward-facing arrow drawn on it. The tube turns right, has a right-facing arrow on it, and is labeled, “C l subscript 2 outlet.”
Pure sodium metal is isolated by electrolysis of molten sodium chloride using a Downs cell. It is not possible to isolate sodium by electrolysis of aqueous solutions of sodium salts because hydrogen ions are more easily reduced than are sodium ions; as a result, hydrogen gas forms at the cathode instead of the desired sodium metal. The high temperature required to melt NaCl means that liquid sodium metal forms.

The preparation of aluminum

The preparation of aluminum utilizes a process invented in 1886 by Charles M. Hall , who began to work on the problem while a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. Paul L. T. Héroult discovered the process independently a month or two later in France. In honor to the two inventors, this electrolysis cell is known as the Hall–Héroult cell    . The Hall–Héroult cell is an electrolysis cell for the production of aluminum. [link] illustrates the Hall–Héroult cell.

The production of aluminum begins with the purification of bauxite, the most common source of aluminum. The reaction of bauxite, AlO(OH), with hot sodium hydroxide forms soluble sodium aluminate, while clay and other impurities remain undissolved:

AlO ( OH ) ( s ) + NaOH ( a q ) + H 2 O ( l ) Na [ Al ( OH ) 4 ] ( a q )

After the removal of the impurities by filtration, the addition of acid to the aluminate leads to the reprecipitation of aluminum hydroxide:

Na [ Al ( OH ) 4 ] ( a q ) + H 3 O + ( a q ) Al ( OH ) 3 ( s ) + Na + ( a q ) + 2H 2 O ( l )

The next step is to remove the precipitated aluminum hydroxide by filtration. Heating the hydroxide produces aluminum oxide, Al 2 O 3 , which dissolves in a molten mixture of cryolite, Na 3 AlF 6 , and calcium fluoride, CaF 2 . Electrolysis of this solution takes place in a cell like that shown in [link] . Reduction of aluminum ions to the metal occurs at the cathode, while oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide form at the anode.

A diagram is shown. At the center of the diagram are two black squares, each labeled, “Carbon anode ( positive sign ),” and connected by forked tubes to a horizontal tube labeled with a positive sign. The carbon anodes are submerged in a green liquid labeled, “A l subscript 2 O subscript 3 dissolved in molten N a subscript 3 A l F subscript 6.” It is held in place by a three-sided, double layered container which is labeled, “Steel sheet,” on the outer layer and, “Ceramic,” on the inner layer. The carbon anodes are surrounded by bubbles labeled, “Bubbles of O subscript 2, C O, and C O subscript 2.” Below the green liquids lies a silver layer labeled, “Molten aluminum,” and a black layer labeled, “Carbon cathode ( negative sign ).” Above the diagram is an outlet tube labeled with an upward-facing arrow and the words, “H F and particulates exhaust to filter plant.”
An electrolytic cell is used for the production of aluminum. The electrolysis of a solution of cryolite and calcium fluoride results in aluminum metal at the cathode, and oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide at the anode.

The preparation of magnesium

Magnesium is the other metal that is isolated in large quantities by electrolysis. Seawater, which contains approximately 0.5% magnesium chloride, serves as the major source of magnesium. Addition of calcium hydroxide to seawater precipitates magnesium hydroxide. The addition of hydrochloric acid to magnesium hydroxide, followed by evaporation of the resultant aqueous solution, leaves pure magnesium chloride. The electrolysis of molten magnesium chloride forms liquid magnesium and chlorine gas:

MgCl 2 ( a q ) + Ca ( OH ) 2 ( a q ) Mg ( OH ) 2 ( s ) + CaCl 2 ( a q )
Mg ( OH ) 2 ( s ) + 2HCl ( a q ) MgCl 2 ( a q ) + 2H 2 O ( l )
MgCl 2 ( l ) Mg ( l ) + Cl 2 ( g )

Some production facilities have moved away from electrolysis completely. In the next section, we will see how the Pidgeon process leads to the chemical reduction of magnesium.

Chemical reduction

It is possible to isolate many of the representative metals by chemical reduction    using other elements as reducing agents. In general, chemical reduction is much less expensive than electrolysis, and for this reason, chemical reduction is the method of choice for the isolation of these elements. For example, it is possible to produce potassium, rubidium, and cesium by chemical reduction, as it is possible to reduce the molten chlorides of these metals with sodium metal. This may be surprising given that these metals are more reactive than sodium; however, the metals formed are more volatile than sodium and can be distilled for collection. The removal of the metal vapor leads to a shift in the equilibrium to produce more metal (see how reactions can be driven in the discussions of Le Châtelier’s principle in the chapter on fundamental equilibrium concepts).

Questions & Answers

who are the alchemist?
Victor Reply
alchemy science of transmutation. typically it is aim at tranforming lead to or other base metals to gold and the creation of the philosophers stone which in reality isn't a stone it's something priceless something we all need for coming times. don't be fooled
read Corinthians 5 verses 50 to the end of the chapter then read revelations chapter 2 verse 17
What's the mass number of carbon
Charlie Reply
first Faraday's law
mass number of carbon is 12.
wat d atomic number of oxygen
atomic number of oxygen is 8
which quantum number divides shell into orbitals?
Tomiwa Reply
what is atom
Desmond Reply
an atom is a smallest indivisible part of an element
an atom is the smallest part of an element that takes part in a chemical reaction
wat is neutralization
Dubem Reply
when any acid reacts with base to decrease it's acidity or vice-versa to form salt and solvent.. which is called neutralization
explain buffer
buffer is a solution which resists changes in pH when acid or alkali added to it..
hello, who is online
buffer is the solution which resist the change in pH by addition of small amount of acid or alkali to it
neutralisation is the process of mixing of a acid and a base to form water and corresponding salt
how to solve equation on this
Princewill Reply
what are the elent of ionic and covalent bonding
what is gases
Wesike Reply
Its one of the fundamental sate of matter alone side with liquid, solid and plasma
What is chemical bonding
To my own definitions. It's a unit of measurement to express the amount of a chemical substance.
Ozoaniehe Reply
What is mole
It's the unit of measurements used to express the amount of chemical substance.
What is pressure
Stellamaris Reply
force over area
force applied per unit area
force applied per unit area
Why does carbonic acid don't react with metals
Aditya Reply
Why does carbonic acid don't react with metal
Some metals will react depending on their Standard Electrode Potential. Carbonic acid is a very weak acid (i.e. a low hydrogen ion concentration) so the rate of reaction is very low.
sample of carbon-12 has a mass of 6.00g. How many atoms of carbon-12 are in the sample
Emokiniovo Reply
a sample of carbon-12 has a mass of 6.00g. How many atoms of carbon-12 are in the sample
Sharmin Reply
an object of weight 10N immersed in a liquid displaces a quantity of d liquid.if d liquid displaced weights 6N.determine d up thrust of the object
ugonna Reply
how human discover earth is not flat
Jason Reply
We don't fall off. If set off in any direction in a straight line and keep going. You'll end up back where you started.
earth is spherical
Also, every other planet is spherical as that is the most energy efficient shape. gravity pulls equally on all areas. Sphere.
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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