Computerized scaled cells to study the effect of additive ratios and concentrations on nodulation during copper electrorefining
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Scaled copper electrorefining cells were designed, built and computerized to simulate as closely as possible industrial conditions at three Canadian copper refineries. The industrial dimensions of Falconbridge, Kidd Metallurgical Division, were considered while designing scaled cells. Anode width to cell width ratio, anode width to cathode width ratio, anodic surface to cathodic surface ratio, as well as electrolyte volume to cathodic surface ratio, which was about 60 L m−2, were consistent with Kidd's industrial ratios. However, the cell design also allowed simulation of INCO's Copper Cliff Copper Refinery (CCCR) or Noranda's Canadian Copper Refinery (CCR). Electrorefining cells were 135.0 cm deep by 14.7 cm wide. Electrolyte flow rate was parallel to the electrodes. Electrolyte was circulated from the lower part of the electrorefining cells to the top where there was an overflow going to the electrowinning circuit. The equipment was computer controlled using Labview software. Experiments were conducted using this scaled electrorefining set-up to evaluate the effect of various ratios and concentrations of additives on nodulation during copper electrorefining under high current densities. Cathodic polarization curves, SEM micrographs, porosity analyses and copper grain analyses were used to characterize the cathodes produced.
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