Additonal authors: Ipinza, J.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
Ibáñez, J. P.
Copper powder generated during the treatment of electro-metallurgical bleeds by reactive electro- dialysis (RED) had totally reduced the content of ferric ions in acidic synthetic electrolytes (Cu (II)- Fe (III)
– H2SO4). In batch and columnar experiments 100% of the ferric ions were reduced to ferrous ions with an extremely high kinetics. A preliminary conceptual design for reducing ferric ions based on an integrate RED- Column for treatment of electro-winning bleed system is discussed. This system is able to recover simultaneously sulfuric acid and copper powder, which will reduce ferric ions.
It is well known the negative effect of ferric ions in the copper electro-winning process. The increase of ferric content in the electrolyte reduces the current efficiency, i.e., there is an increase in the energy consumption, and changes the surface morphology of the copper deposit (Das, Gopala & Krishna, 1996; Vargas & Parra, 2013). The increase of the specific energy consumption due to the loss of current efficiency occurs by the reduction reaction of ferric to ferrous ions in the cathode, at the anode the ferrous ions are slowly oxidized to ferric ions (Shaw, Dreisinger, Lancaster, Richmond & Tomlinson, 2004).
To control the level of iron in the electrolyte, bleeds are needed; this bleed electrolyte containing copper, sulfuric acid, cobalt, iron and other impurities normally is waster, which increased the production cost of the plant (Milbourne, 2002; Mckevitt & Dreisinger, 2009). Then, permanent efforts oriented to treat those bleeds to avoid losses of valuables components are made; among them are use ion exchange resins (Shaw et al., 2004; Mackevitt et al., 2009), chemical precipitation (Izadi, Mohebbi, Amiri & Izadi, 2017) and electrodialysis (Cortés, Ipinza & Ibáñez, 2013). The last one allows to the simultaneous recovery of sulfuric acid and copper powder.
If one of the valuables obtained by treating the bleed can be used to reduce ferric ion concentration in the electrolyte could be an important asset. This issue at laboratory scale is reported in this work, the use of copper powder, generated by reactive electro-dialysis when treating synthetic acidic electro-metallurgical bleeds, for reducing ferric ions in acidic electrolytes.