Effective Diffusivity Of Ferric Ions And Current Efficiency In Stagnant Synthetic Copper Electrowinning Solutions - Preprint 09-047
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2009
Copper electrowinning operations have dramatically improved their ability to produce high quality copper at low costs over the past several decades. Even so, some fundamental understandings are still lacking, which could allow operates to run more efficiently. For example, a rule of thumb exists that estimates a current efficiency loss of 2-3% per gram per liter of iron in the electrolyte. While several laboratory studies have been performed that demonstrate this rule of thumb is likely true, no definitive relationship exists. In this paper, the first steps in developing a definitive relationship are presented. The effective diffusivity of ferric ions in synthetic copper electrowinning solutions was measured using chronoamperometry and the Cottrell equation. The effective diffusivity of ferric ion was determined as a function of electrolyte concentration and temperature. Synthetic electrolytes were then used in laboratory scaled copper electrowinning experiments where relationships were found under stagnant conditions between current efficiency and solution composition.