Maximizing Performance of FRP Equipment in Copper Extraction

Additonal authors: . Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Eisenman, Jeffrey D.

FRP is a proven material for the solvent extraction processes of copper production. There is a history of successful applications of FRP piping and equipment in hydrometallurgical processing. The performance of FRP equipment has not always been consistent, but at no fault of the material. Its non-metal attributes and behavior vary from those of more typical materials of construction, such as steel and alloys. FRP is a mainstay material in many areas of solvent extraction and electrowinning and yet not well understood by all. We will discuss the critical concerns, which are key to reliable performance of FRP systems. This paper will include discussion of key elements, which are fundamental to reliable FRP piping design and considered best practices. Essential design and construction considerations to maximize reliable service life of FRP equipment, such as thickeners and process vessels, used in copper extraction and processing, will be discussed. Additionally, we will expose potential pitfalls and share lessons learned from previous copper processing plant projects, which can aid and impact other copper processing projects to ensure best system performance and reliability. INTRODUCTION The corrosion resistant attributes of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) make it an attractive and cost effective material of construction in corrosive service applications that are found in copper processing. FRP is used all over the processing plant in seawater, brine and sulfuric acid services where the corrosive nature of these services would challenge most ferrous materials and coatings. FRP is a fully customizable material to meet the specific needs of each service and process. FRP piping and equipment can be found throughout the hydrometallurgical process, in the acid plant, desalination, leaching processes, solvent extraction and electrowinning to name a few. Beyond its superior corrosion resistant characteristics, FRP can be made abrasion resistant by introducing particulate additives into the resin, such as silicon carbide and alumina oxide. Because many of these services have combustible organic elements in the flow streams with accompanying safety concerns, the linings can be made conductive with carbon fibers to dissipate static charges that might collect on the surface of the equipment otherwise. Further, FRP can be made flame retardant as well, where flammability may be of concern.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019