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Research entities in the School

Bioprocess Engineering

  • Dr Kevin Harding, Professor Michael Daramola, Antony Higginson and Paul Chego

Corrosion

  • Dr Josias van der Merwe

Industrial and Mining Water (IMWaRU)

  • Professor Craig Sheridan and Dr Kevin Harding

The group’s efforts are directed as solving water-based problems, which have grown as the supply and the quality of water are increasingly threatened. Research is directed at (1) responding to threats posed by mine drainage, (2) undertaking exercises in water accounting and footprinting to determine industrial patterns of usage, (3) developing technologies for providing cheap, potable drinking water for communities, and (4) delivering novel, tailor-made solutions to problems – solutions such as constructed wetlands (passive and biological), slag leach beds for acid mine drainage (passive and physico-chemical), and effluent treatment by a combination of engineering and biotechnological solutions.

Metal and Mineral Extraction Recovery (MMERG)

  • Professors Herman Potgieter, Selo Ndlovu and Lizelle van Dyk

Part of the research focus of the group overlaps with interests of the Chair of Hydrometallurgy and Sustainable Development: (1) the processing of waste materials and effluent streams and (2) understanding fundamental processes in leaching. The group also conducts studies into (1) integrating comminution and leach circuits, (2) electrometallurgy, (3) metal extraction from materials by means of a gas phase, and (4) processing by bio-hydrometallurgical means.

Mineral processing (MPRG)

  • Dr Murray Bwalya and Professors Laurie Woollacott, Vusi Sibanda, Ian Barker and Marek Dworzanowski

Research focuses on several unit operations: comminution (understanding the fundamentals of milling, and modelling by means of the discrete element method and of population balances), gravity concentration (understanding and applying dense-medium separation, spirals and jigs), flotation (of slow-float PGMs and copper-smelter slag), and material handling (modelling chutes and material flow on belts).

Pyrometallurgy

  • Professor Hurman Eriç, Dr Elias Matinde and Paul den Hoed

Research output includes (1) the application of thermodynamic principles (including descriptions of phase equilibria) to explain metallurgical processes, (2) an understanding of reaction kinetics (i.e., reaction rates, mechanisms and process dynamics), (3) the modelling of processes in ferroalloy, base metal and stainless steel industries, and (4) post-mortem studies of furnace refractories to explain corrosion and erosion.

Sustainable Energy and Environment (SEERU)

  • Professor Jean Mulopo, Professor Michael Daramola and Dr Bavon Nkazi

The research interests of SEERU cut across those of the other research groups in that the fields of interest cover catalysis, reactor engineering, waste and wastewater treatment, the production of potable drinking water and separation technologies (e.g. adsorption and membrane technology), but the focus is on the production of clean or renewable energy within sustainable environments and the conversion of waste to valuable products.

Tribology

  • Professor Natasha Sacks

Research in this field focuses on understanding mechanisms of wear that components undergo during operations; its aim is to extend the lifetime of these components or improve the efficiency of operations of which they are a part. Projects in recent years have dealt with cutting-tool technologies (cemented tungsten carbides and ceramics) and hard coatings (HVOF and Cold Spray). Research has looked also at designing new compositions. Facilities in the School permit standard testing of material properties.

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