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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 9, pp. 1537-1545

Published online 2009-08-10

Solubility and related properties in hydrometallurgy

Erich Königsberger*, Glenn Hefter and Peter M. May

School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

Abstract: Thermodynamically consistent models based on accurately measured data are required for reliable predictions of equilibria and thermodynamic properties for a wide variety of multicomponent, multiphase systems and reactions relevant to hydrometallurgy. Recent developments in our laboratory concerning the measurement and modeling of physicochemical properties of electrolyte solutions over wide ranges of conditions are reviewed. Particular emphasis is on applications to the refining of alumina via the Bayer process, in which various solubility phenomena involving solid, aqueous, and gaseous phases are of critical importance to product yield and purity as well as to economical and environmental sustainability. Appropriately designed models and software allow these aspects to be tackled by thermodynamic process simulations of alumina refinery circuits.