SURE: Mining & Materials Engineering

Click on the title for full description of SURE 2018 projects in Mining and Materials Engineering.

 

Materials Engineering

 

MAT-001: Zeolite extractants for metals
Professor:Kristian Waters
E-mail: kristian.waters [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 5143981454
Website

Research Area: Mineral processing


Description
Zeolites have been used as a method of removing metal contaminants from aqueous systems. In this work, zeolites previously manufactured from waste streams will be investigated as extractants for various metal cations. These will be both for water cleaning, and to extract valuable metal..

Tasks:
1) Determine the physico-chemical properties of the zeolites 2) Investigate the extraction capacities for base metals and rare earth metals

Deliverables:
Final report on the potential use of these zeolites as metal extractants. If the results are promising, a journal submission should be finalised

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MAT-002: Surface chemistry in processing of niobium minerals
Professor:Kristian Waters
E-mail: kristian.waters [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 5143981454
Website

Research Area: Mineral processing


Description
This project will link the zeta potential of minerals found in a niobium deposit to bubble attachment and flotation response. Rheological investigations will be important to determine the dispersion of the minerals in different solutions, to ensure either flocculation or dispersion. Determining the yield stress and correlating that to the zeta potential measurements will allow the critical zeta potential and the Hamaker constant to be calculated for different minerals. In addition, microflotation ofvarious will be investigated and linked to surface energy through inverse gas chromatography. The basis for linking surface energy to flotation is previous work on galena, quartz and pyrite..

Tasks:
Zeta potential measurements Bubble-particle attachment observations Measuring the surface energy using inverse gas chromatography Rheology measreuments Microflotation

Deliverables:
Final report Presentations to the Mineral Processing Research Group Journal submission regarding the research

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MAT-003: Dry separation of minerals using a fluidised bed separator
Professor:Kristian Waters
E-mail: kristian.waters [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 5143981454
Website

Research Area: Mineral Processing


Description
Gravity processing is one of the oldest mineral processing separations, with the most widely recognized system most likely being panning for gold. The Knelson Concentrator is one of the most common centrifugal concentrators for gold processing. It currently operates on a wet basis, and processing 24 kg of ore can consume approximately 300 l of water at a laboratory scale. Thus, investigating dry processing has the potential to generate significant environmental benefits through lower water usage. Preliminary work utilised a modified Patridge-Smith microflotation cell with a glass frit at the base as a fluidised bed. The experiment was set up with a low-density material (quartz) initially underneath a layer of a denser mineral, in this case it was magnetite. As the air fluidised the packed bed, the magnetite preferentially migrated downwards towards the base of the column. The first stage of the project will be to conduct further work with the Parrtidge-Smith cell, followed by a pseudo-2D experimental setup which will allow for air injection at the base, and will be run both batch and on a continuous basis. This will allow the researchers to see the motion of heavy and light particles, image analysis could be a potential method of determining the residence time required for separation..

Tasks:
Undertaking gravity concentration test work using a dry fluidised bed, and subsequent analyses of the concentrate and tailings fractions.

Deliverables:
Final report Presentations to Mineral Processing Research Group Preparation of a journal submission, data dependent

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MAT-004: A material surface approach to increase PEEK osseointegration
Professor:Marta Cerruti
E-mail: marta.cerruti [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 5143985496
Website

Research Area: Biomaterials


Description
Poly(etheretherketone) (PEEK) is a hard and inert polymer used in few orthopedic applications as an alternative to titanium. Its use could be expanded if its ability to bind to bond was increased--currently, PEEK prosthetics need glue to help fixing to bone. We have shown that a phosphonate layer increases osseointegration in-vivo and adhesion to hydroxyapatite (HA) in vitro on PEEK. This project will explore further strategies to improve adhesion of HA and bone on PEEK..

Tasks:
- modify PEEK surfaces - immerse substrate in simulated body fluids - characterize HA deposition with Raman and IR spectroscopy - test adhesion on HA and bone

Deliverables:
-Weekly result presentations -Final report -Final group meeting presentation -SURE poster

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MAT-005: The Design of CO2 Scrubbing Technologies Through Quantum Methods
Professor:Kirk Bevan
E-mail: kirk.bevan [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 514-398-2680
Website

Research Area:Computational Materials


Description
A B.Eng./B.Sc. student is sought to carry out quantum mechanical modeling research on designing CO2 reduction technologies. The project will encompass the modeling of liquid phase electron transfer reactions, via state-of-the-art computational physics/chemistry software packages. The goal of this research is to devise new methods for removing green house gases from the atmosphere, using physically based models, to tackle the important problem of climate change. The applicant will work under the close training guidance of an experienced doctoral student, as well as the faculty member, and gain materials modeling, physical chemistry, electronic devices, and high performance computing expertise.

Tasks:
Computational materials simulations.

Deliverables:
The applicant will work under the close training guidance of an experienced doctoral student, as well as the faculty member, and gain materials modeling, physical chemistry, electronic devices, and high performance computing expertise.

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

 

Mining Engineering

 

MIN-001: Precipitation of Phosphorus-Rich Carbonate Apatite from Municipal Wastewater
Professor:Sidney Omelon
E-mail: sidney.omelon [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 398-2608
Website

Research Area: Waste Phosphorus Recycling


Description
Phosphorus fertilizer is produced uniquely from phosphate rock. Phosphate rock is a phosphorus-rich ore, with the phosphorus as a component of carbonate apatite, which is a type of phosphorus biomineral. Since 2013, when the phosphate rock mine in Kapuskasing, Ontario closed, phosphate rock is no longer mined in Canada. Phosphorus fertilizer producers in Canada presently import phosphate rock from overseas. This project focuses on precipitating carbonate apatite from municipal wastewater, which is rich in phosphorus. Preliminary data suggest that carbonate apatite can be precipitated from the slurry generated by anaerobic digestion of municipal wastewater sludge. This precipitation requires the capture of carbon dioxide generated by the anaerobic digestion process, and a subsequent precipitation of carbonate apatite. In order to engineer a crystallization process, the supersaturation windows for mineral precipitation must be identified. The supersaturation of carbonate apatite can be estimated by the measurement of free calcium and phosphate concentrations. The optimal concentrations of calcium and phosphate are not known. To generate these data, pH measurement and calcium and phosphate concentration measurements by colourimetry are required for small batch crystallization experiments. Also required is the characterization of the precipitate by powder x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy..

Tasks:
The student will measure the pH, redox state, calcium and phosphate concentrations of municipal anaerobic digestate. They will capture synthetic flue gas in a solution, and mix this solution with the digestate in different proportions to precipitate phosphorus-rich solids. They will separate the solids, measure the final solution pH, redox, calcium and phosphate concentrations, and characterize the precipitate. A supersaturation map will be plotted with these data.

Deliverables:
The student will generate the data set with the optimal supersaturation values for carbonate apatite precipitation from municipal wastewater anaerobic digestate, and characterize the complex precipitation products.

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MIN-002: Mineralization of Collagen Scaffolds with Apatite
Professor:Sidney Omelon
E-mail: sidney.omelon [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 398-2608
Website

Research Area: Materials Chemistry


Description
Skeletons are composed of a combination of Type I collagen, substituted carbonate apatite, non-collagenous proteins, and water. The first bone structure formed is made of unmineralized collagen that is later reinforced with mineral. The structure of the collagen in bone is known, but only recently are the locations of minerals within the collagen structure understood. This project strives to mineralize collagen scaffolds with a technique that may mimic how the collagen structures in new bone mineralize. Preliminary experiments involving collagen scaffolds, calcium, phosphate, and polyphosphate solutions have indicated a window of mineralization conditions that precipitate a phosphate mineral within a collagen scaffold. This project involves surveying the mineralizing solution conditions that successfully mineralize collagen scaffolds, undertaking crystallization experiments, characterizing the mineralization solutions before and after the experiments, and characterizing the mineralized scaffolds. Solution characterization involves measuring pH, calcium, phosphate, and total phosphate concentrations. Scaffold characterization involves sample preparation for histological staining, optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and powder x-ray diffraction..

Tasks:
The student will create collagen scaffolds, produce and characterize different mineralization solutions with pH, calcium, phosphate, and polyphosphate concentrations. They will undertake mineralization experiments, and characterize the final solutions and collagen scaffolds. The student will embed part of the scaffold in plastic to prepare it for histological staining. They will also identify the phosphate components in the scaffolds with powder x-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy.

Deliverables:
The student will produce collagenous scaffolds, set up and undertake multiple collagen mineralization experiments, and characterize the solution chemistry of the mineralization solutions. They will also characterize the treated collagen scaffolds with el

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference

MIN-003: Improving mine safety through cognitive engineering and complexity science-based approaches
Professor:Mustafa Kumral
E-mail: mustafa.kumral [at] mcgill.ca
Telephone: 5143983224
Website

Research Area: Mine safety


Description
Human is the most important asset of a mining company. Therefore, mine safety is a paramount topic in mining operations. Present stochastic models are not adequate to explain mine safety-related human behavior. At the same time, cognitive engineering and complexity science have made significant progress in the last two decades. This progress can pave a way to improve safety issues in a mining operation. The research aims to integrate new cognitive engineering and complexity science findings to the specific characteristic of the mining safety in the case where intricate interactions and couplings occur especially. Thus, the mining operations will have an analytic tool that human–machine interactions are understood, and the safety of operations is enhanced..

Tasks:
The student will review current safety practices in mining operations, and develop models to improve safety by incorporation cognitive engineering and complexity science finding. The student will attend meetings, join to write a scientific article and prepare a poster at the SURE poster session.

Deliverables:
Proposing new mine safety models

Number of positions: 1
Academic Level: No preference