Department of Processing

Division of Processing

While the global metal content in deposits decreases, more and more ores are characterized by valuable minerals that are finely distributed and bound in rather small particles (< 100 µm). For the raw materials industry, however, processing several billion tons of ore per year is becoming a major technical challenge.

Therefore, the Department of Processing is concerned with enhancing classical flotation techniques and at the same time develops holistic processing concepts in order to exploit the increasingly complex mineral resources such as complex ore deposits or tailings.

The department also utilizes innovative biological technologies by closely working together with the Biotechnology Department, which develops new methods for extracting and processing metals from primary and secondary resources using microorganisms as well as their metabolic products.

Research Fields

Ultra-fine Particle Flotation

By using oil-based sorting methods, the Processing Department aims at increasing the se­paration efficiency of particle systems with a high amount of ultra-fine particles.

Studying Particle Surfaces Using Atomic Force Microscopy

The Atomic Force Microscopy enables researchers to investigate surface characteristics on a micro and nano scale. In addition, existing processing models can be enhanced by analyzing micro processes that remain largely unexplored, for example particle-bubble interactions.

Investigating Interfacial Phenomena

Precisely characterizing phase properties at microscopic scale, helps to improve the general understanding of interfacial phenomena. A bet­ter understanding will thus help to improve to control flotation processes.

Hydrodynamics within the Flotation Cell

The Processing Department investigates hydrodynamic processes with the goal to increase the collision frequency between bubbles and particles - especially the ultra-fine fractions – and thus to improve the beneficiation of valuable minerals.

The Impact of Water Quality on the Flotation Performance

The flotation performance largely depends on the process water chemistry. That ist why a new model is created, that predicts the flotation performance as a function of the changing water composition. Such prediction models do not exist yet.

Resource Efficiency through Modelling

On the basis of the geometallurgical approach empirical and fundamental models are being combined in order to produce appropriate predictive and flexible froth flotation simulations using particle as well as flotation ­information.