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Microfluidic solvent extraction of copper from malachite-chalcopyrite mineral leach solution

Yin, C-Y, Nikoloski, A. and Wang, M-W (2012) Microfluidic solvent extraction of copper from malachite-chalcopyrite mineral leach solution. In: Proceedings of CHEMECA 2012, 23 - 26 September, Wellington, New Zealand



Microfluidics is concerned with the characteristics and manipulation of fluid flows along mili- and micro-sized channels at very low Reynolds numbers intended for specific applications. It affords improvements based on several factors such as enhanced surface area-to-volume ratio and faster diffusion which facilitate efficient extractions and phase separations. In this study, microfluidic solvent extraction (μSX) was investigated as an alternative to conventional bulk solvent extraction of copper from a mineral leach solution. While bulk extraction typically requires a two-step mixer-settler stage, μSX precludes the need of a settler. A copper solution was produced by using sulfuric acid as leachant of a composite malachite–chalcopyrite ore. A microfluidic Y-Y channel placed on the format of a microscopy polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) slide was used for the μSX process. LIX84 (10% v/v) dissolved in Shellsol was used as the extractant. In a typical μSX application, two streams (one is the copper leach solution and the other is the extractant) are in direct parallel contact along the microsized channel. There was no observable blockage along the microfluidic channel and copper extraction was accomplished under continuous phase flow.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Chemical and Mathematical Science
Conference Website:
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