Techniques For Evaluating Electrolytes For Metal Recovery


One of the major concerns of almost all aqueous electrowinning or electro-refining processes is the ability to control the metal deposition. The items of greatest interest are usually cathode purity, smoothness, and coulombic efficiency. Optimizing these three features is accomplished by maintaining good control of both the physical and electrochemical parameters of importance to the process. In the electrolytic deposition of many non-ferrous metals such as copper, zinc, and manganese, the processing parameters such as current density, temperature, and electrolyte composition must be maintained within a relatively narrow range. It is common to make additions of both organic and inorganic chemicals to assist in overcoming any inherent shortcomings of the system, particularly those relating to the polarization and growth of the metal. Maintaining the optimum concentration of the additives then becomes essential, but it is difficult, because of the low concentrations involved and the complexity of chemically analyzing for some species, particularly the organics. Some of the techniques that have been useful in evaluating electrolyte quality involve interpreting polarization curves and their changes upon varying the solution chemistry of the electrolyte. The advantages and disadvantages of these voltammetric tests for metal deposition and some future needs are discussed. © 1984.


Materials Science and Engineering

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

25 May 1984