Hydrometallurgy: Leaching in Heap, Vat, CIL, CIP, Merrill–Crowe, SX Solvent Extraction

Hydrometallurgy: Leaching in Heap, Vat, CIL, CIP, Merrill–Crowe, SX Solvent Extraction

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Nickel - autoclave hazards (1 reply)

8 months ago
idahalen 8 months ago

I am currently researching Nickel hydrometallurgy and I am looking to understand the hazards on a HPAL circuit, specifically the Fleaters and Autoclaves.  I understand that under certain conditions autoclaves can explode but I do not see how this can happen without direct heat?  The only instances I find are in alumina refineries i.e. digesters, which to my mind are similar tech... does anyone have any pointers?  I may add I am a mining engineer so be nice... I also completed a blast simulation but I find this very difficult to justify and I can't visualize this.  i would appreciate any guidance on this matter. 

8 months ago
SmartDog 8 months ago

An autoclave operates at elevated temperature and pressure.  Basically it is an industrial pressure cooker, so yes heat is invloved often by use of steam.  Like any pressure vessel, if the sealing mechanism is faulty or the material of construction is faulty (due to manufacturing error, maintenance issues, or just age), sudden releases of the contained energy can occur, an explosion.  Also serious problems can occur on regular opening if the internal pressure has not been bleed off safely.

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