A tall silver coloured cylindrical tanks with a tap-type mechanism at the bottom.

The UltraPS online alumina particle analyser mounted in the slurry loop at the CSIRO pilot-scale facility, Lucas Heights, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Measuring bigger, better alumina particles

The production of metallic aluminium begins with the mining of bauxite. Alumina, the feedstock for aluminium smelting, is extracted from bauxite in a complex process. (3:32)

  • 17 August 2009

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Known as the Bayer process, it begins with the ore being crushed and milled to reduce the particle size and make the minerals more available for removal. The crushed ore is digested by washing with hot caustic solution. After filtering and clarification, the dissolved alumina precipitates as crystals of alumina hydrate.

The new ultrasonic particle size analyser is used during the crystallisation phase of the process to gauge alumina hydrate particle size. As particle size determines the quality of the alumina produced, this is an important measurement. The information provided by the analyser is also useful in adjusting Bayer process conditions to generate particles of optimal size.

In this podcast, project leader Dr Peter Coghill of CSIRO Minerals explains how the Ultra PS is a significant step forward in accurately and expeditiously measuring alumina hydrate particle size during the process.

National Research Flagships

CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities. The 10 Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.

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