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The simulation of current distribution in cells during the electrowinning of copper

Blackett, A. and Nicol, M. (2010) The simulation of current distribution in cells during the electrowinning of copper. In: Copper 2010, 6 - 10 June 2010, Hamburg, Germany


A common problem in the electrowinning industry is that of maintaining a uniform current density Across both surfaces of each electrode, while also ensuring that the current is equally shared among all the electrodes and cells throughout an operating tankhouse. One way to study this problem is to Model the current distribution both on each electrode and between electrodes and cells in a simulated tankhouse.

A circuit analysis approach has been implemented to model the current distribution within a simulated tankhouse using off-the-shelf electronic circuit simulation software. An electrode model developed to incorporate the main characteristics of contact and solution resistance, overpotential and reversible potential provides the basic building block for the construction of a simulated electro-winning tankhouse. The resulting model is flexible and easily modified to allow the simulation of various conditions and changes in parameters so that their effect on the distribution of current in the tankhouse can be evaluated.

Several examples will be shown which reveal the effects of poor electrode alignment, electrical Shorts, poor contacts, removal of electrodes and busbar/contact system on the distribution of current in cell and the effects on adjacent cells.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions
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