Contribution Of Nickel, Zinc And Sulphur Co-Deposistion During Cobalt Electrowinning

Kongolo, K.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
It is well known that the electrochemical precipitation of metals from aqueous solutions is conducted by the electrochemical standard potential scale. This scale indicates the order of nobility of different metals. Consequently, the standard potential scale shows the nocivity of metals when they are present as impurities in aqueous solutions containing metals. In the hydrometallurgy of cobalt, nickel and zinc are co-deposited during cobalt electrodeposition. Nickel has almost the same chemical, physical and electro-chemical properties as cobalt. Furthermore, the electrochemical potential of nickel is relatively higher than that of cobalt. For this reason nickel is preferentially reduced at the cathode in the presence of cobalt. The presence of small amounts of zinc in solution leads to contamination of cobalt electrowon. In spite of its lower electrochemical potential in comparison to cobalt, zinc is reduced on the cathode because of its higher hydrogen-overvoltage. But, in the hydrometallurgy of zinc, small amounts of cobalt present solution will contaminate the zinc reduced at the cathode. This is easily explained by the fact that cobalt is more electropositive than zinc. The co-deposition mechanism of sulphur at the cathode is not yet well understood. Great attention has to be paid to the mechanism of co-deposition of sulphur during cobalt electrolysis. This work aimed to investigate the influence of some parameters on the co-deposition of nickel, zinc and sulphur during cobalt electrowinning. The following parameters have been investigated: Co2+concentration in the electrolyte, current density and ammonium sulphate (NH4)2SO4additions. It has been established that important nickel, zinc and sulphur co-deposition takes place at relatively low Co2+ concentration in solution. The behaviour of these elements with regard to the cathodic phenomena has been established.
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