Spectrochemical analysis of molten copper-nickel-iron matte at 1100 °C using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy

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ConferencePittcon 2014, Chicago, Illinois, March 2-6, 2014
Subject12 Atomic Emission Spectroscopy; 192 Plasma Emission; 199 Process Control; 223 Sensors
AbstractThe first step in the pyrometallurgical process for extracting copper and nickel from ores consists in melting the ore and skimming the silicates and other oxides that float on the surface. The denser mixture of molten metals and sulfur found at the bottom is called matte. Our industrial partners want to know the concentration of copper, nickel and cobalt in the matte, in real time and in situ in the furnace or immediately at the exit of the furnace when it is tapped. Knowing these concentrations would allow increasing production efficiency in the following processing step, whereby iron and sulfur are oxidized inside a second furnace called the converter. We are developing a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) sensor to measure online the concentrations of copper, nickel, cobalt, iron and sulfur in the molten matte. The measurement is made through a tube in which an inert gas flows. This allows measuring below the surface slag and impurities. Alternately, we are also investigating direct measurements onto the surface which could be advantageous when the molten matte is flowing in a channel. The advantages of LIBS technology are speed, lower operation costs than the current sampling technique, and improved safety because LIBS does not require manual sampling of molten metals. Preparatory measurements taken in the laboratory at temperatures of approximately 1100 °C will be presented. From an analytical point of view, one difficulty is that there is no major element that can be used to normalize line intensities.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; Energy, Mining and Environment
Peer reviewedNo
NRC numberNRC-EME-55629
NPARC number21269150
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Record identifier44f8d870-2e44-4185-9975-2ae5e1485dca
Record created2013-12-12
Record modified2016-12-05
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