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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.109 n.6 Johannesburg Jun. 2009




Copper electrowinning: Theoretical and practical design



N.T. Beukes; J. Badenhorst

TWP Matomo Process Plant, South Africa




An engineering house's perspective of required inputs in designing a copper electrowinning tank house and ancillary equipment calls for both understanding of the key fundamental controlling mechanisms and the practical requirements to optimize cost, schedule and product quality. For direct or post solvent extraction copper electrowinning design, key theoretical considerations include current density and efficiency, electrolyte ion concentrations, cell voltages and electrode overpotentials, physical cell dimensions, cell flow rates and electrode face velocities, and electrolyte temperature. Practical considerations for optimal project goals are location of plant, layout of tank house and ancillary equipment, elevations, type of cell furniture, required cathode quality, number and type of cells, material of construction of cells, structure and interconnecting equipment, production cycles, anode and cathode material of construction and dimensions, cathode stripping philosophy, plating aids, acid mist management, piping layouts, standard electrical equipment sizes, electrolyte filtration, impurity concentrations, bus bar and rectifier/transformer design, electrical isolation protection, crane management, sampling and quality control management, staffing skills and client expectations. All of the above are required to produce an engineered product that can be designed easily, constructed quickly and operated with flexibility.



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