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DISAGGREGATION (EPD) & HYDROSEPARATION (HS)
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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
Electric-pulse disaggregation (EPD) is a mineral separation technique that liberates all mineral grains from any rock irrespective of its lithology or grain-size distribution. Normal mechanical crushing of whole-rock samples is replaced by the rending effect of an explosion, which is produced by applying an electric current from a high-voltage power source. A voltage greater than the 100 kV necessary for the electrical breakdown of rock samples is achieved by using capacitors that are charged in parallel but discharged in series. The sample sits in a water bath and the rapid distribution of electric pulses through the sample leads to explosions, which occur preferentially along grain boundaries (zones of weakness). As a result, individual, undamaged mineral grains can be recovered in their original shape and form regardless of grain size.
The commercially available hydroseparators of HS series were invented to process solid water-insoluble powdered samples to produce representative heavy-mineral HS concentrates of particles that follow Stokes’ law when settling in a carefully computer controlled upward pulsating water stream. Ideally, to be applicable for HS, powdered particles should have densities between 3 and 20 g/cm and grain sizes of less than 0.3 mm, including industrial flotation size fractions (-45 pm) for which there is no commercial alternative. The concentration by hydroseparation is done with practically no loss of mineral grains. In different tests, mineral concentrates had 100 to 10,000 times the original proportions of the desired minerals. The technique has been applied successfully to samples having as low as 0.1-1.0 ppm of the phase forming elements of the desired minerals.
The combination of EPD and HS techniques makes it possible to conduct mineral processing and sample preparation for the following:
Study the crystal morphology, mineralogy and mineral chemistry of PGM, gold, base metals and other useful constituents of different rock types containing low concentrations;
Carry out prospecting and technological mapping at the phase level from small samples (100-2000g);
Produce ultraclean separates of accessory minerals for any analytical purpose (i.e. mineral identification, isotopic studies, X-ray diffraction etc.) without using toxic chemicals and reactants which may leach or crush desired minerals;
Determine the identity of accessory minerals, their grain-size distribution and mineral associations; important information for economic evaluation and extraction;
Detect the occurrence of useful minerals and elements in possible secondary mineral deposits (process products such as mine tailings, industrial slags, etc);
Contribute to better understanding of the paragenesis of deposits through detailed studies of accessory minerals;
Conduct analysis of losses in tailings from concentration mills, etc.
This website provides most discrete information that includes research papers, presentations, flowcharts, as well as continuously updated news and analytics for efficient use of EPD and HS technologies for various mineral processing applications and sample preparation.