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Doc Brown's Chemistry AQA GCSE Science-CHEMISTRY 1 Revision Notes

Chemistry Unit C1.3 Metals and their uses  Study Notes

CHEMISTRY UNIT 1 Chemistry C1 for GCSE Science or GCSE Chemistry

REVISION NOTES GUIDE SUMMARY: What do you need to know for the examinations? What do you need to able to do in the exams? In AQA GCSE Science A examinations HT means for higher tier students only. Sorry, but I don't have much time to answer questions, but if you see any apparent errors or wish to comment, please email me. All my notes, learning objectives, comments for exam revision are based on the official AQA GCSE Science A Key Stage 4 syllabus specification.

  • Throughout this unit you will be expected to write word equations for reactions specified.

  • Higher tier (HT) candidates will also be expected to write and balance symbol equations for reactions specified throughout the unit.

AQA GCSE Science CHEMISTRY Unit C1.3 Metals and their uses

  • extract1Appreciate that metals are very useful in our everyday lives and used in a wide variety of situations.

  • Know that ores are naturally occurring rocks that provide an economic starting point for the manufacture of metals.

  • Know that iron ore is used to make iron and steel.

  • Know that copper can be easily extracted but copper-rich ores are becoming scarce so new methods of extracting copper are being developed to exploit low grade ores - those with low concentrations of copper

  • aluminium greenhouse frameKnow that aluminium and titanium are useful metals but are expensive to produce.

  • Know that metals can be mixed together to make alloys to improve the metal's properties for a particular purpose.

  • You are expected to be able to use your skills, knowledge and understanding to ...

    • Consider and evaluate the social, economic and environmental impacts of exploiting metal ores, of using metals and of recycling metals.

    • You should know that metal ores are obtained by mining and that this may involve digging up and processing large amounts of rock.

    • Your knowledge and understanding of obtaining, using and recycling metals is limited to the metals named eg Fe, Cu, Al.

    • Be able to evaluate the benefits, drawbacks and risks of using metals as structural materials

    • Your expected knowledge and understanding of the uses and properties of metals and alloys is limited to those specified in the subject content ie Fe, Cu, Al and Ti.

      • Note that information may be given in examination questions so that candidates can evaluate their uses

  • Introduction to Metal Extraction Notes


AQA GCSE Science CHEMISTRY Unit C1.3.1 Extracting metals

  • a) Know that ores contain enough metal to make it economical to extract the metal.

    • Know that the economics of extraction may change over time with eg reduced by technological advances or increased by depletion of high grade ore reserves.

    • Knowledge of specific examples is not required but data may be provided in examination questions for you to analyse.

  • b) Know that ores are mined and may be concentrated before the metal is extracted and purified.

    • Knowledge of specific examples other than those given below is not required.

  • c) Know and understand that unreactive metals such as gold are found in the Earth as the metal itself but most metals are found as compounds that require chemical reactions to extract the metal.

  • Notes on Reactivity Series of Metals & Metal Reactivity Experiments-Observations

  • (c) doc bd) Know that metals that are less reactive than carbon can be extracted from their oxides by reduction with carbon, for example iron oxide is reduced in the blast furnace to make iron (see diagram above).

    • Your knowledge and understanding should be limited to the reduction of oxides using carbon.

    • Your knowledge of reduction should be limited to the removal of oxygen here.

    • No knowledge of the details of the extraction of other metals is required.

  • e) Know and understand that metals that are more reactive than carbon, such as aluminium, are extracted by electrolysis of molten compounds.

    • Know and understand that the use of large amounts of energy in the extraction of these metals makes them expensive to produce.

  •  f) Know that copper can be extracted from copper-rich ores by heating the ores in a furnace (smelting).

    • Know that the copper can be purified by electrolysis.

    • Know that the supply of copper-rich (high grade) ores is limited.

    • Knowledge of the details of industrial methods of electrolysis is not required.

    • Details of industrial smelting processes are not required, but ...

      • Know that copper is extracted from its ores by chemical processes that involve heat or electricity.

      • Know that copper-rich ores are being depleted and traditional mining and extraction have major environmental impacts.

  • g) Know that new ways of extracting copper from low-grade ores are being researched to limit the environmental impact of traditional mining.

    • Know that copper can be extracted by phytomining, or by bioleaching.

    • You should know and understand that:

      • phytomining uses plants to absorb metal compounds and that the plants are burned to produce ash that contains the metal compounds,

      • bioleaching uses bacteria to produce leachate solutions that contain metal compounds.

        • Further specific details of these processes are not required.

  • (c) doc bh) Know that copper can be obtained from solutions of copper salts by electrolysis or by displacement using scrap iron.

    • You should know that during electrolysis positive ions move towards the negative electrode.

    • You do not need to describe this in terms of oxidation and reduction, or to understand half equations.

    • Extraction and Purification of Copper Notes

  • i) Know that aluminium and titanium cannot be extracted from their oxides by reduction with carbon.

    • Know that current methods of extraction are expensive because:

      • there are many stages in the process,

      • and large amounts of energy are needed.

    • You do not need to know the details of methods used to extract these metals, but should be able to comment on and evaluate information that is given about the chemical processes that can be used.

  •  j) We should recycle metals because extracting them uses limited resources and is expensive in terms of energy and effects on the environment.


AQA GCSE Science CHEMISTRY Unit C1.3.2 Alloys

  • blast furnacea) Know that iron from the blast furnace contains about 96% iron.

    • Know the impurities make the iron brittle and so it has limited uses.

    • Your knowledge of uses of blast furnace iron is limited to blast furnace iron being used as cast iron because of its strength in compression.

  • b) Know that most iron is converted into steels.

    • Know that steels are alloys since they are mixtures of iron with carbon.

    • Know that some steels contain other metals.

    • Know that alloys can be designed to have properties for specific uses.

    • Know that low-carbon steels are easily shaped, high-carbon steels are hard, and stainless steels are resistant to corrosion.

    • (c) doc bYour knowledge and understanding of the types of steel and their properties is limited to those specified above.

    • Information about the composition of specific types of steel may be given in examination questions so that you can evaluate their uses.

    • Extraction of Iron and Steel Making Notes

  • c) Know that most metals in everyday use are alloys.

    • Know that pure copper, gold, iron and aluminium are too soft for many uses and so are mixed with small amounts of similar metals to make them harder for everyday use.


AQA GCSE Science CHEMISTRY Unit C1.3.3 Properties and uses of metals 


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OCR GCSE 21st Century Science A CHEMISTRY  *  OCR GCSE Gateway Science B CHEMISTRY

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