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The Study of Metallurgy Metallurgy is the science and technology of metals including the extraction of metals from ores the preparation of metals for use and the study of the relationship between structures and properties of metals New techniques in fabrication of metals have developed new alloys allowing reduced weight and increased in strength Metallurgical processes consist of two operations concentration separating a metal or metallic compound from the useless waste rock material or gangue which accompanies it in the ore and refining producing the metal in a pure or nearly pure state suitable for use Three types of processes are employed both for concentration and refining mechanical chemical and electrical In most cases a combination of these methods is used One of the simplest methods of mechanical separation is gravity separation This process is based on the difference in specific gravity between native metals and metallic minerals and the other rock materials with which they are mixed When crushed ore or ore concentrates are suspended either in water or an air blast the heavier metal or metallic mineral particles fall to the bottom of the processing chamber and the lighter gangue is blown or washed away The prospectors technique of panning gold from gold-bearing sand for example is a small-scale gravity-separation process Similarly by virtue of its higher specific gravity magnetite a mineral of iron may be separated from the gangue rock in which it occurs Flotation is the most important present-day method of mechanical concentration In its simplest form flotation is a modified gravity process in which finely ground ore is mixed usually with a liquid The metal or metallic mineral floats while the gangue sinks although the reverse is true in some instances In most modern flotation processes the floating of either the metal or gangue is aided by an oil or other surface-active agent By this means comparatively heavy substances can be made to float on water In one typical
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