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The effect of microwave radiation on mineral processing

Vorster, Werner (2001)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Between 50% and 70% of the total energy used in the extraction process may be attributed to comminution. Microwave pre-treatment has been suggested as a means to decrease the energy requirements. A variety of mineral ores have been investigated and the effects of microwave radiation quantified in terms of the mineralogy, changes in the Bond Work Index, flotability and magnetic separation. It has been shown that microwave pre-treatment is most effective for coarse grained ores with consistent mineralogy consisting of good microwave absorbers in a transparent gangue (up to a 90% decrease in Bond work index for Palabora copper ore) whereas fine grained ores consisting predominantly of good absorbers are not affected as well (a reduction of only 25% in work index for Mambula ore). Although the mineralogy of minerals are affected by exposure to microwave radiation, flotability and magnetic separation characteristics have been shown not to be adversely affected, unless the microstructure is completely destroyed after prolonged microwave exposure. Computer simulations have shown that significant changes to comminution circuits are possible as a result of microwave induced work index reductions (three mills reduced to one). Purpose-built microwave units may hold the solution for more efficient mineral extraction in the near future.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Rowson, N A
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Engineering
Department:Chemical Engineering
Additional Information:

The published appendices are not available in the web copy of this thesis

Subjects:TP Chemical technology
TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:309
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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