• Metals can be extracted from molten compounds using electrolysis. Electrolysis is used if the metal is too reactive to be extracted by reduction with carbon or if the metal reacts with carbon. Large amounts of energy are used in the extraction process to melt the compounds and to produce the electrical current.

Aluminium is manufactured by the electrolysis of a molten mixture of aluminium oxide and cryolite using carbon as the positive electrode (anode).

Students should be able to:

  • explain why a mixture is used as the electrolyte
  • explain why the positive electrode must be continually replaced