Processmetallurgi vid Luleå tekniska universitet
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Laboratory of Process Metallurgy

Published: 4 June 2019

The laboratory of Process Metallurgy has equipment for research in both pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy. Furthermore, the Division of Mineral Processing and Process Metallurgy has a fully equipped laboratory for mounting samples in epoxy for scanning electron microscopy. Part of the equipment is accounted for below.

Pyrometallurgical Equipment

The furnace room is the heart of the laboratory for pyrometallurgy. This room has several furnaces of different types. There are four muffle furnaces with different characteristics in terms of max temperature, heating rate, and atmosphere control. Two of the furnaces have the possibility for deliberate control of heating, holding and cooling via programming.

Muffle furnaces
Muffle furnaces

In addition to the muffle furnaces, the furnace room has a Tamman furnace with the possibility to heat samples to 2000°C. Furthermore, there is a high-frequency induction furnace with coils of two different sizes. The larger coil is positioned in a suitable height for charging material to a melt during trials or sampling during the experiment. The smaller coil is mounted on a rotating axis, which allows for water granulation of melts. Lastly, there are two rotating furnaces suitable for roasting experiments and two tube furnaces. One of the tube furnaces is connected to a chamber that allows for quenching of the sample after finished experiments.

High-frequency induction furnace on a rotating axis
High-frequency induction furnace on a rotating axis

Hydrometallurgical Equipment

In the laboratory for hydrometallurgy, there is equipment for, amongst others, leaching experiments, liquid extraction, and titration experiments.

Experimental setups for leaching experiments.
Experimental setups for leaching experiments

Equipment for Sample Preparation and Characterization

The Division of Mineral Processing and Process Metallurgy has equipment for sample splitting, preparing powder-XRD samples, cutting samples, mounting in epoxy, polishing epoxy samples, and carbon coating before SEM analyses.

Grinding and polishing machine from Struers and the carbon coater.
Grinding and polishing machine from Struers and the carbon coater

In the laboratory of Process Metallurgy, there are two instruments for thermogravimetric analysis. One of these two instruments is the Netzsch STA 409 with the possibility for gas analysis via quadrupole mass spectrometry. In addition to thermogravimetry, there is a heating microscope (optical dilatometer) with automatic image analysis. This instrument can be used to analyze characteristics of a material in temperatures up to 1550°C.

Thermogravimetric analysis instrument Netzsch STA 409
Thermogravimetric analysis instrument Netzsch STA 409

Two instruments are available for analysis of chemical composition. Both of these instruments utilize mass spectrometry, one ICP-OES, and one ICP-MS. The latter is connected to a laser ablation equipment. In order to analyze solid samples, the possibility for digestion in different acids or mixtures of acids under high temperatures exists.

ICP-OES from Thermo Fisher
ICP-OES from Thermo Fisher

The Division of Mineral Processing and Process Metallurgy has access to X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope equipment. The X-ray diffraction equipment is a PANalytical Empyrean unit with the possibility to run on X-rays generated with a cobalt or copper tube. Furthermore, a furnace may be connected to the instrument, allowing for analyzing the mineralogy upon heating. The scanning electron microscope is a Zeiss Merlin with an Oxford EDS-detector.

SEM micrograph from a cold-bonded briquette used in the steel industry.
SEM micrograph from a cold-bonded briquette used in the steel industry

In addition to the instruments mentioned above, the laboratory is equipped with a glove box where sensitive or reactive material can be handled in inert atmosphere. There is also equipment for determining the CRI/CSR values of coke using ISO 18894. Also, an isothermal calorimeter is available in the laboratory.

The inside of a lithium-ion battery dismounted in the glove box.
The inside of a lithium-ion battery dismounted in the glove box