A low temperature method for reducing and purifying refractory metals,
metal compounds, and semi-metals using a catalyst. Using this invention,
TiO.sub.2 can be reduced directly to Ti metal at room temperature. The
catalyst is an ion in an electrolyte that catalyzes the rate of the
reduction of a compound MX to M, wherein M is a metal or a semi-metal; MX
is a metal compound, a semi-metal compound, or a metal or semi-metal
dissolved as an impurity in M; and X is an element chemically combined
with or dissolved in M.