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Recovery of metal cyanides using a fluidized bed of resin
Nesbitt, Allan Bernard
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Metal cyanide complexes are a toxic pollutant in waslewater originating from various industrial and mining activities. The removal/retrieval ofcyanide and metal cyanide complexes has been studiedby researches for many years, leading to the establishment of a variety of patents. The mechanisms used by these patents vary from purely chemical techniques to those using ion exchange Iesins. In this thesis, ,the feasIbility ofthe recovery ofmetal cyanide complexes by using a strong base macroreticular resin, in a fluidized bed configuration, has been investigated. The resin in question is presently used in the sugar indnstry where its main application is the recovery oflarge organic molecules similar in nature to metal cyanides. The selected resin was contacted with synthetic solntions of various metal cyanide complexes. for the purposes of evaluating performance in the adsorption th..."feOf. It was found that polyvalent metal cyanide molecules were adsOlbed efficiently, while divalent metal cyanide molecules were adsorbed satisfactorily. The loaded resin was also evalnated for the ease with which the metal cyanides conId be removed. It was discovered that a brine solntion ofpH 7, conId effectively remove all metal cyanide complexes. This test-work was of particular importance as it is well !moon that the removal ofmetal cyanides from strong base metals is not easily achieved. To distingnish the fluidization characteristics of the selected resin (or any resin for that matter), a method of modelling the expansion of a flnidized resin bed was proposed, that takes into account the diflicnIties associated with the byclrod:)nantic charncteristics of a macroporous resin of this nature. The technique is based on the Serial Afadel which is a discretised application of the Z3ki and Richardson equation. From the interpretation of the resnIts of a matrix of fluidization tests, it was fonnd that the algorithm proposed conId effectively model the expansion of a fluidized bed of ion exchange resin, independently of the dimensions ofthe accomodatiog receptical. Finally. it was shown that the change in the fluidization characteristics of the selected resin, between its chloride and metal cyanide states, could clearly be modelled by the technique referred to above.