Are nanoparticulates present in typical mineral processing practices and can they be suppressed?

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Airborne dust emission standards are receiving growing attention. This trend is motivated by significant health studies that have shown adverse health effects due to exposure to dust. Currently, the air quality standards are not specific to particles in the nanoparticulate range ( < 1,000 nm). However, as our understanding of health related matters increases, it is very likely that nanoparticulate standards will be adopted. It was previously believed that typical comminution and material-handling practices could not result in airborne nanoparticulates. However, experimental studies using air monitoring and SEM have verified the presence of nanoparticulates in the air as a result of comminution and material handling. This means that emerging nanoparticulate air quality standards are a real possibility for industrial operations. With this emerging problem facing the minerals industry, effective suppression methods for nanoparticulates should be explored. Systematic studies have indicated that nanoparticulates from silica can be suppressed utilizing hygroscopic reagents such as calcium chloride. This reagent was as much as 93% more effective than water in suppressing silica nanoparticulates. Copyright 2007, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing