Use of X-ray computed tomography to investigate crack distribution and mineral dissemination in sphalerite ore particles

Ghorbani, Y., Becker, M., Petersen, J. , Morar, S. H., Mainza, A. and Franzidis, J.-P. (2011) Use of X-ray computed tomography to investigate crack distribution and mineral dissemination in sphalerite ore particles. Minerals Engineering, 24 (12). pp. 1249-1257. ISSN 0892-6875

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As the trends in mineral processing move towards the beneficiation of finer grained and more complex ore bodies, so too do the methods needed to understand and model these processes. During the heap leaching of low-grade ore bodies, the crack distribution and mineral dissemination in ore particles are important characteristics that determine the performance of sub-processes, such as the diffusion of reagents in and out of particle pores. Recent developments in X-ray computed tomography (CT) as an advanced diagnostic and nondestructive technique have indicated the potential for the technology to become a tool for the acquisition of 3-D mineralogical and structural data. The spatial distribution of cracks and mineral dissemination in particles derived from a sphalerite ore in the Northern Cape, South Africa, was characterized using a high-resolution industrial X-ray CT system. This paper describes the use of image analysis techniques including image segmentation, which uses a combination of thresholding and other methods to characterize and quantify crack and mineral dissemination in the sphalerite particles. The results are validated with those obtained using traditional techniques such as physical gas (with N2) adsorption, mercury intrusion porosimetry, SEM and QEMSCAN. A comparison of the effect of different comminution devices (HPGR and Cone crusher) on crack generation is also given. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:Advanced diagnostics, Crack distribution, Crack generation, Heap leaching, High resolution, Image analysis techniques, Mercury intrusion porosimetry, Mineral processing, Non-destructive technique, Ore bodies, Particle pores, QemSCAN, South Africa, Sphalerite, Sphalerite particles, Structural data, Thresholding, Traditional techniques, X-ray computed tomography, X-ray CT system, Cracks, Crushed stone plants, Crystallography, Elementary particles, Grinding (comminution), Image segmentation, Leaching, Mercury (metal), Mineralogy, Ore deposits, Ores, Scanning, Silicate minerals, Tomography, X rays, Zinc sulfide, Computerized tomography, Adsorption
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F100 Chemistry
Divisions:College of Science
College of Science > School of Chemistry
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ID Code:54553
Deposited On:30 Jun 2023 14:40

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