Use of Ultrasound in Physical and Chemical Mineral Processing Operations

Güngören C., Özkan Ş. G., Özdemir O.

in: Advances in Minerals Research and Technology, Shadia Jamil Ikhmayies, Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Zürich, pp.25-54, 2024

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Zürich
  • Page Numbers: pp.25-54
  • Editors: Shadia Jamil Ikhmayies, Editor
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Ultrasound, which is a sound wave above the human perception limit, creates some extraordinary phenomena in liquids including acoustic streaming, and cavitation related to its various frequencies. While acoustic streaming causes the effective cleaning of solid surfaces and accelerates chemical reactions, cavitation, which is the formation, growth, and collapsing of bubbles in a liquid, may create liquid jets and short-lived hot spots that may reach extremely high local pressures (1000 atm) and temperatures (5000 °C). Because of these unique features, ultrasound is used in various industries including mineral processing to enhance separation recoveries and obtain better-quality products at acceptable and bearable costs. The current study also specifically focuses on reviewing the use of ultrasound on mineral comminution as well as its applications in physical and chemical mineral processing operations. Various previous studies about the use of ultrasound in the literature indicated that ultrasound could increase the comminution rate of the particles related to their mineral properties. In physical techniques, ultrasound provides surface cleaning and slime removal as well as causing aggregation of very finely sized particles. Ultrasound also enhances the efficiency of physical processes such as ore washing and solid/liquid separation. Furthermore, in the case of chemical processes including leaching and electrolysis, ultrasound also increases the process efficiencies at lower retention times and chemical dosages by increasing the surface area of the particles and creating more reactive surfaces. For all of these above-mentioned applications, the conditions for the ultrasonic applications such as device, frequency, time, power, and intensity levels are prominent as well as the properties of the medium including purity, viscosity, composition, and temperature. As most of these studies on the ultrasonic application in mineral processing are carried out at the laboratory or pilot scale, the scale-up studies need to be performed to utilize ultrasound in commercial applications in future studies.