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The ion exchange phenomenon of acetylene black
Coetzee, Johannes Wilhelm
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Acetylene Black IACB) IS a pure form of carbon which is used in the battery, plastics, printing and rubber industries. It is extensively used in the battery industry to absorb electrolyte and to lower the electrical resistance of dry cell batteries. It is the attempt of this thesis, to investigate the surface characteristics '---------._-- -,- ...• -...•--- .. ------.. _.. --- "'- and structure of ACB by using it as an adsorbent for cyanide complexes, in particular gold cyanide. The thesis is predominantly aimed at identifying the mechanism of metal cyanide adsorption onto ACB, viz. ion exchange and/or physical adsorption. In order to quantify the mechanism of adsorption, comparative studies with other adsorbents currently used in the mining industry, such as activated carbon, were conducted. These studies revealed various similarities in the metal adsorption process between ACB and activated carbon, thus indicating physical adsorption rather than ion exchange to be the dominant mechanism for metal adsorption from solution. The rate of metal adsorption onto acetylene black was relatively fast compared to activated carbon. Furthermore, adsorption profiles revealed that intraparticle diffusion was negligible when a metal was adsorbed onto ACB from solution. This indicates that acetylene black has a predominantly amorphous structure, although X-ray diffractrometry indicates a certain degree of graphitisation associated with ACB. The small surface area of ACB, together with the lack of intraparticle diffusion, resulted in the rapid attainment of the equilibrium metal loading on ACB. Moreover, this equilibrium metal loading was far less than that of activated carbon and ionexchange resin. While pH, temperature and strong oxidizing agents had a marked effect on the adsorption profile of metal cyanides onto ACB, the effect of oxygen enrichment and organic solvents was negligible. Furthermore, the adsorption of gold onto ACB is best explained by a Freundlich-type isotherm. As is the case with activated carbon and ion exchange resin, gold is eluted from ACB by a NaOH solution. It was also found that the elution efficiency is influenced by a change in temperature. Changes in operating variables in the production of ACB had an effect on the absorption stiffness of the product. Both an increase in acetylene feed rate and operating temperature reduced the absorption stiffness of the product.