Total Acid Mist Quantification within a Full-Scale Copper Electrowinning Cell

Additonal authors: Yang, W.. 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

Mohanarangam, K.

Copper electrowinning is a complex electrochemical process that involves the production of LME grade copper from copper rich electrolyte. The process involves the deposition of the copper ions onto the cathode from copper rich electrolyte with the production of oxygen bubbles at the anode. Acid mist is produced by these oxygen bubbles bursting at the electrolyte free surface. It is an undesired by-product of the Electrowinning process which unchecked could result in mist generation higher than the recommended time-weight-average exposure limit. Various approaches to alleviate the problem have been adopted by companies, all with varying degrees of success. All of these have been attempts to treat the symptom acid mist rather than the inherent problem, often proving expensive and, in some cases, ineffectual. In this paper, a new method was developed for acid mist quantification based on ‘total acid mist’ capture above the EW cell under well controlled conditions. With the use of sophisticated diagnostic analytical tools and measurement techniques it was possible to study all the operating variables including current density, flow rate, temperature, etc. independently and their effect on bubble size, bubble velocity, gas hold-up as well as acid mist generation and its droplet size. Results show that total acid mist capture increases with an increase in current density but remains more or less constant between 300–500 A m-2. Total acid mist also shows an increase with increasing electrolyte temperature. These findings are substantiated with the aid of bubble size and gas hold-up measurements with the transparent EW cell.
Mots Clés: Copper 2019, COM2019