Investigating the control of manganese sulphide precipitation

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Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

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University of Cape Town

The generation and control of manganese sulphide particle size distribution using various mixing configurations were investigated. Specifically, this paper discusses how varying mixing intensities on a macro and micro scale affect the resultant manganese sulphide particle size distribution (PSD) at a constant concentration. The mixing variations were achieved using various Y- and T-mixers as premixing devices into a jacketed, agitated vessel. The reagents used to generate the seeds were aqueous manganese sulphate and sodium sulphide solutions. The results showed that the absence of micromixing resulted in very poor control of the particle size distribution, the particle size and the number of particles produced. This was due to the fact that the macromixing time is much greater than the corresponding precipitation time, resulting in different mixing regions existing within the reactor. From the micromixing experiments, the T–mixer was found to be the most effective mixing device at lower concentrations due to the T-mixer providing a faster mixing time than the other mixing configurations, thereby effectively localizing the supersaturation and hence controlling the precipitation. The results obtained from the direct addition without the extension pipe (i.e. short mixing time) indicated a general increase in mean particle size and decrease in total particle number at reagent concentration of 0.007 as compared to the corresponding micromixing experiments. The phenomenon may be due to incomplete crystallization at the immediate exit of the mixing device. Further experiments need to be conducted before any conclusions can be drawn about the precipitation mechanisms.