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Art and science of extracting metals from their ores and modifying the metals for use. Metallurgy usually refers to commercial rather than laboratory methods. It also concerns the chemical, physical, and atomic properties and structures of metals and the principles by which metals are combined to form alloys. Metals are extracted from crude ore in two phases, mineral processing (also known as ore dressing) and process metallurgy. In mineral processing, the ore is broken down to isolate the desired metallic elements from the crude ore. In process metallurgy, the resulting minerals are reduced to metal, alloyed, and made available for use. See alsoblast furnace; powder metallurgy; smelting.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on metallurgy, visit Britannica.com.