# Full thermal decomposition of metal oxides?

• hellfire2
In summary, the conversation discusses the thermal decomposition of metal oxides into their corresponding metals and oxygen, specifically focusing on the decomposition of Fe3O4. The recommended method for determining the temperature at which this decomposition occurs is through the use of Ellingham diagrams, which provide temperature-oxygen partial pressure regimes for various metal oxides. The conversation also mentions the potential use of direct computations, but notes that it requires extensive electronic structure calculations. A specific paper in Phys. Rev. B journal is suggested as a resource for this topic. Overall, it is emphasized that the decomposition of metal oxides is dependent on both temperature and oxygen partial pressure.
hellfire2
I haven't been able to find much information on the thermal decomposition of metal oxides into their corresponding metals and oxygen. What temperature would Fe3O4 decompose mostly(80%) into its base elements? Additionally, how can this information be determined based upon bond energies/structures for other elements?
For those who are curious, I am looking into methods for producing metals thermally for use where reducers such as carbon are not present in high enough concentrations to be useful.
Thanks!

Check Ellingham diagrams. They provide temperature-oxygen partial pressured regimes for metal oxides. Iron oxides are well-studied. So surely you will find the needed data.

Direct computations, requires full electronic structure calculations coupled with finite temperature effects. I think there was a paper in Phys. Rev. B journal on this calculation for iron oxide. I can try googling it if you are interested.

hellfire2
Whoops misclicked there. Yeah if you could point me in the right direction for those I would appreciate it. I did look at some of the Ellingham diagrams before but was not too sure about the iron oxides because they seem to run off most of the charts. I will further investigate the paper as well.

This Ellingham diagram contains all the decompositions of iron oxides starting from Fe2O3 through Fe3O4, FeO, and eventually to Fe.

The paper I mentioned cared more about the transitions in the PO2-PH2O space with little regard to temperature, but it may still be useful:
https://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.83.094112

An arxiv version of the paper is here:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1101.3105.pdfThe key thing is that the decomposition depends on both temperature and oxygen partial pressure. I hope this helps.

hellfire2
Useful nucleus said:
This Ellingham diagram contains all the decompositions of iron oxides starting from Fe2O3 through Fe3O4, FeO, and eventually to Fe.

The paper I mentioned cared more about the transitions in the PO2-PH2O space with little regard to temperature, but it may still be useful:
https://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.83.094112

An arxiv version of the paper is here:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1101.3105.pdfThe key thing is that the decomposition depends on both temperature and oxygen partial pressure. I hope this helps.
Thank you very much for this! This helps a bunch!

## 1. What is full thermal decomposition of metal oxides?

Full thermal decomposition of metal oxides refers to the process of breaking down a metal oxide into its constituent elements through the application of heat. This can be achieved through heating the metal oxide to high temperatures, causing it to lose oxygen and leave behind the pure metal component.

## 2. What are the factors that affect the full thermal decomposition of metal oxides?

The factors that affect the full thermal decomposition of metal oxides include the type of metal oxide, temperature, and the presence of other substances such as catalysts. The stability of the metal oxide also plays a role in its ease of decomposition.

## 3. What is the purpose of full thermal decomposition of metal oxides?

The purpose of full thermal decomposition of metal oxides is to obtain the pure metal component of the oxide. This is often used in industrial processes to produce metals for various applications, such as in the production of steel or aluminum.

## 4. How is full thermal decomposition of metal oxides different from other decomposition methods?

Full thermal decomposition of metal oxides is different from other decomposition methods in that it relies solely on heat to break down the oxide. Other methods, such as chemical or electrolytic decomposition, involve the use of additional substances or electricity to facilitate the decomposition process.

## 5. Can full thermal decomposition of metal oxides be reversed?

No, full thermal decomposition of metal oxides cannot be reversed. Once the metal oxide has been decomposed, the pure metal component is obtained and cannot be recombined with the oxygen to recreate the oxide. This is a one-way process.

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