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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspects of phase separation in an experimental mixer-settler using two solvent extraction systems Eckert, Norbert L.


An experimental investigation was undertaken to study the factors affecting phase separation in a specially constructed, laboratory scale mixer-settler. Two phase systems were used: 1. A laboratory prepared HSLIX64N-copper phase system, similar to that used in commercial copper solvent extraction processes. 2. A phase system obtained directly from the uranium extraction circuit of the Key Lake Mining Corporation, Sask., millsite. A settler scale-up criterion relating dispersion band thickness to specific settler flow of dispersed phase, was found to have considerable merit. Besides being dependent on specific settler flow, the dispersion band thickness was found to be a function of the phase ratio (for system 2 only), dispersion introduction level (for system 2 only), and temperature. Mixing intensity had no appreciable effect with either system. Microscopic examination of the dispersion produced with system 2 revealed the existence of double dispersions; that is, drops within drops. A photomicroscopic technique was used to undertake a drop size investigation of the dispersion produced with system 2. Drop size was found to be independent of dispersion throughput, a weak function of impellor speed and a relatively strong function of the phase ratio. With the exception of organic continuous operation with system 1, it was possible, based on the holdup and drop size profile within the dispersion band, to distinguish two horizontal sublayers within the dispersion band. In the "even concentration sublayer", comprising the majority of the dispersion band, the holdup and average drop size is nearly constant throughout. In the "dense concentration sublayer", both the holdup and the average drop size increase sharply as the coalescence front is approached.

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