Test Your Knowledge on Aluminium extraction – mining and electrolysis

Have you just done a science lesson on aluminium extraction – mining and electrolysis? Complete this assessment quiz to test your knowledge!

START
What form is aluminium present in rocks?

Iron ore occurs naturally as rocks underground in many countries around the world, including the US, Russia, Australia, Brazil, Sweden and Canada. It is mined using open cast mining.

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What is the name of the compound produced when bauxite is purified?

The bauxite is purified into aluminium oxide or alumina (a pure white powder) so it is easier to transport to refineries across the world.


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What is the name of the process used to extract aluminium from alumina?

Electrolysis is used to extract aluminium from the alumina.

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What other elements are needed in the extraction of aluminium from its ore?
Carbon (graphite) cathodes and anodes are used to provide free electrons for the reaction.
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How often must the graphite be replaced in the electrolysis reaction?

Graphite anodes and cathodes must be replaced often as the carbon is used up in the process.


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Which of the following is NOT a reaction that happens in the electrolysis?
Carbon dioxide does not react with carbon in this process.
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What are the main waste products of the electrolysis process?

Carbon dioxide and oxygen are the main gases emitted from the electrolysis process.

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What temperature must the aluminium oxide be heated up to in the electrolysis process?
The process does requires a huge amount of energy as the solution must be heated to well over 750°C so that the molten aluminium can be removed.
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What process do you think would be better than mining aluminium from the ground and then extracting the alumnium through electrolysis?
Recycling uses much less energy as the bauxite does not have to be mined and processed. It emits far less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and so is contributing less to climate change. It also encourages resource efficiency and the circular economy, meaning we are being more sustainable if we recycle.
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Has this lesson made you aware of the energy cost and climate change implications of aluminium production?
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