Recycling of Mn-processing dusts: Quality control through 3D computed tomography
The residues from mining and processing ores can often be considered as secondary raw materials. However, the material is only available in form of fine particles (< 3 mm). In order to recycle these wastes, it is necessary to agglomerate it for transportation prior to reprocessing. The resulting agglomerates need to resist mechanically the stress of transportation and loading into the furnace. X-ray computed tomography (CT) is an established method for characterization of internal structures in material science. This non-destructive technique can provide information on size and distribution of particles and grains. However, the information is not limited to the size, but also can yield structural features like orientation and position of cracks and fractures, which are important features indicating potential for deteriorating the agglomerates. Furthermore, deduced features such as contact conditions of inclusions or boundary surfaces can also be calculated. We studied binder-free tablets of manganese-oxyhydroxide, bentonite, kaolinite and slag powder using micro-CT. Inclusions of highly absorbing particles were identified using a watershed transformation with automatic segmentation by Otsu thresholding. Subsequently, the resulting data was analyzed regarding their volume percentage, distribution in size and location within the sample. For the slag agglomerates, the volume fraction of iron could be determined. Furthermore, visible cracks were investigated with the goal to determine the long-term durability. It was shown that the data provided by micro-CT is reliable and helpful for the characterization of industrial waste agglomerates.
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