Oxidation and Reduction
The science aid, chemistry catagory of Industrial Chemistry features many articles that focus on the extraction of metals from their ores, this process involves oxidation and reduction; so this is a very good starting point.
They are both different types of reaction.
Reduction and Oxidation
|Oxidation||The gain of oxygen and the loss of hydrogen and electrons.|
|Reduction||The loss of oxygen and gain of hydrogen and electrons.|
Redox and Metal Ores
A redox reaction is simply one where both oxidation and reduction take place, and the word redox is made up of the first syllable of each word REDuction OXidation.
The extraction of a metal from its ore, depends on its reactivity. A metal that is high in the reactivity series (like potassium, calcium) can only be obtained by electrolysis because metals high in the reactivity series form stable compounds. An example of a metal extracted like this is aluminium.
It is metals in the middle of the reactivity series (like zinc and tin) that are extracted by reduction reactions. An example of metal extracted like this is iron.
And metals low in the reactivity series (like gold and platinum) form unstable compounds and can be extracted from their ores simply by heating.