FeS2 + O2 --> Fe2O3 + SO2 Is this an example of oxidation? Why or why not?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A combustion reaction is a high-temperature exothermic reaction involving fuel and an oxidant. In the current case, iron pyrite is the fuel and atmspheric oxygen is the oxidant.

The balanced chemical reaction for the combustion of iron pyrite is:

4 FeS2 + 11 O2  --> 2 Fe2O3 + 8 SO2

This is a combustion reaction and generates iron (III) oxides. Typically, the pyrite ore containing up to 85% iron pyrite and 15 % inert materials reacts with excess air (up to 200% excess) to generate sulfur dioxide (SO2). The waste containing iron oxide is removed. 

Based on the enthalpy of the reaction, 5656 KJ of heat is generated per kg of ore processed. This calculation assumes that the reaction is maintained at a temperature of 25 C. The release of energy makes it an exothermic reaction and the given reaction a combustion reaction.


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