I am currently studying reactions involving the reduction of metal oxides by carbon at high temperature to produce refractory carbides (such as $\ce{ZrC}$) following equations such as:

$$ \ce{ZrO2 + 3C -> ZrC + 2CO (g)} $$

I have come across both the following terms for this type of a reaction carbothermic reduction and carboreduction; they appear to be used completely interchangeably. I would like to make sure (as I have not yet found a source to say otherwise) that this is the case in chemistry terminology and not that one may be applied to an equation as above and the other to a similar reaction where the product is actually the pure reduced metal, such as that for iron ore smelting:

$$ \ce{2Fe2O3 + 3C -> 4Fe + 3CO2} $$


1 Answer 1


The term "carboreduction" has an IUPAC definition:

Process in which a metal oxide is reduced in the presence of carbon or a carbon-containing compound.

So technically the term does not require heating and isn't limited to elemental carbon.

Carbothermic definitely implies heating.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your contribution, it does make sense, have a good day $\endgroup$
    – Fiztban
    Jan 31, 2015 at 23:04

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