CrossRef enabled

PAC Archives

Archive →

Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 5, pp. 1075-1084

Published online 2011-04-07

Thermodynamics of impurities in hydrometallurgical processes

Erich Königsberger*, Sebastian Bochmann, Peter M. May and Glenn Hefter

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

Abstract: Impurities in hydrometallurgical process liquors frequently impact on product quality and yield, change physicochemical properties of the liquor, and form hard scale on heat exchangers and condensers. Organic compounds are of particular concern especially in the Bayer process, where impurities build up in the recycled liquor if not controlled. Depending on the redox state of the liquor, such compounds can undergo a variety of complex chemical reactions, including the formation of volatiles that can potentially cause environmental, health, and safety concerns. To aid in the development of appropriate control strategies, robust thermodynamic models for multicomponent aqueous systems containing large numbers of electrolytes and nonelectrolytes are required. Applications of thermodynamic models are discussed that range from the partitioning of volatile compounds in flash trains to the prediction of mixing properties of organic impurities with major Bayer liquor components.