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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C517466/1
Title: Visiting Fellowship for Professor SM Bradshaw: Microwave Processing of Ores
Principal Investigator: Kingman, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemical and Environmental Eng
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 17 March 2005 Ends: 16 February 2006 Value (£): 6,461
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mining & Minerals Extraction
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Food and Drink
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The inefficiencies of mineral ore comminution are well established and it has been stated that up to 3% of all electrical energy generated each year is used to crush and grind rocks to enable the recovery of valuable metals such as copper, lead, zinc and gold. This has meant significant amounts of research effort have been expended into reducing energy consumption. One such method has been the use of microwave heating to induce thermal stresses and failure within ore samples, weakening the ore to allow the amount of energy used to process it to be reduced.Previous EPSRC International Collaboration and Visiting Fellowship projects investigated the fundamentals of the interaction of microwave energy with rocks and minerals and the influence of microwave cavity design on the weakening mechanisms. It was found that reductions in ore strength were intimately related to the applied electric field strength (or power density). For several materials spectacular results were achieved with significant reductions in ore strength being achieved in microwave cavity residence times of less than 0.1 seconds and specific microwave energy inputs of less than 1 kWhtt. The microwave treatment process also improves the ability of the valuable minerals to be recovery from the waste material.In order to further develop the use of microwave energy for the processing of ores a further project is proposed that will enable more advanced modelling and prediction of the effects of microwaves on ores to be undertaken.It is proposed that Professor Bradshaw from Stellenbosch University, South Africa visit the University of Nottingham for a period of two months during Autumn 2004 to work with the Nottingham team of researchers on several specific areas.1. Integration of data from electromagnetic and thermal stress simulations to allow prediction of the influence of microwave energy on rock strength 2. Comparison of measurements of microwave properties from different techniques to allow accurate representation of rocks in numerical simulations 3. Develop cavity designs for specific ores that are being investigated at Nottingham University.If successful the project outputs will contribute towards reducing the environmental impact of the mining industry by reducing waste and saving energy.
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk