The Growth of Metallurgy

Ashley Shaffer

Main

Arsenic

1250

Discovered by Albertus Magnus. It's symbol is As and taken from the latin arsenicum. When heated with twice its weight of soap it became metallic. Arsenic is steel gray, very brittle, and crystalline. It tarnishes in air and when heated rapidly forms arsenious oxide with the odor of garlic. Arsenic compounds are poisonous. Used in bronzing and improving the sphericity of shot. Most common mineral is Mispickel or Arsenopyrite from which arsenic sublimes upon heating.

Zinc

1400

Known to the Chinese in 1400, however it was not until 1738 when William Champion patented the zinc distillation process, that zinc came into common use. A Chinese text from 1637 stated the method of production was to heat a mixture of calamine (zinc oxide) and charcoal in an earthenware pot. Zinc was recovered as an incrustation on the inside of the pot. In 1781 zinc was added to the liquid copper to make brass, this method of brass manufacture soon became dominant.

Platinum

1500

Discovered in the 1500's in Mexico by the Spaniards. Not 100% pure, first metal to be discovered and sourced from the "New World". The property that brought Platinum to the prospectors attention was the lack of reactivity with known reagents. Platinum was banned because it was used as a blank for coins which were gold coated, providing that the early metallurgists understood not only density but also economics. Although platinum was known to the western world, it was not until the 1800's that platinum became widely used.

Antimony

1560

Agricola reported the technique of stibium or antimony sulphide roasted in an iron pot to form antimony. Antimony's name comes from the Greek "anti plus monos" - a metal not found alone. Symbol is Sb from the latin stibium. Extremely brittle and flaky metal. Antimony and its compounds are highly toxic. Initial uses were as an alloy for lead as it increased hardness. Stibnite is the most common ore. Commonly roasted to form the oxide and reduced by carbon.

Bismuth

1595

Produced by reduction of the oxide with carbon. It was not until 1753 when bismuth was classified as an element.

Arsenious oxide

1641

Was being reduced by charcoal.

Isolated Metals

1700

In the 1700's these metals were isolated: Cobalt, Nickel, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Tellurium, Beryllium, Chromium, Uranium, Zirconium and Yttrium. Only Laboratory specimens were produced and all were reduced by carbon with the exception of tungsten which became the first metal to be reduced by hydrogen.

Cadmium

1817

Stroymeyer noted that zinc carbonate had a yellowish tinge not attributable to iron. Upon reduction he thought that the alloy contained two metals. The metals were separated by fractional distillation. At 800 C, as cadmium's boiling point is lower than zinc, the cadmium distilled first.

Aluminum

1825

First produced by Christian Oersted. It was not until 20 years later that significant quantities were produced. Wohler fused anhydrous aluminum chloride with potassium to set free aluminum. In 1854 Ste Claire Deville put together a production process using sodium instead of potassium.

Seperating Cobalt and Nickel

1841

In 1841 Charlies Askin developed a method of separating cobalt and nickel when both metals are in solution. He found that if the quantity of powder was small enough only cobalt oxide was precipitated and separated. The nickel could then be easily precipitated with lime and a source for pure cobalt and nickel was available.

Chromium

1859

Although it had been produced by reduction with carbon was the first metal to be extensively produced using another metal (zinc). In 1859 Wohler melted chromium chloride under a fused salt layer and attracted the chromium with zinc.