STTR Phase II: Chemical Sensors for In Situ Monitoring of Collector Chemicals in Complex Copper Mine Effluents

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1058472
Agency Tracking Number: 1058472
Amount: $516,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solitcitation Year: 2011
Solitcitation Topic Code: Phase II
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
United Science LLC
15911 Furuby Rd, Center City, MN, 55012-0000
Duns: 938536922
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jon Thompson
 PhD
 (651) 329-9998
 jthompson@unitedsciencecorp.com
Business Contact
 Jon Thompson
Title: PhD
Phone: (651) 329-9998
Email: jthompson@unitedsciencecorp.com
Research Institution
 United Science LLC
 15911 Furuby Rd
Center City, MN, 55012-0000
 (651) 213-6185
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project addresses unmet analysis needs of froth flotation, a separations process widely used in the mining industry to separate worthless gangue from desired mineral particles. Phase I work has demonstrated the preparation of sensor membranes that permit the measurement of collector chemicals used in flotation suspensions. These sensors have been shown to be ideally suited for these measurements since they are not affected by turbidity, have high selectivity for collectors, and require no off-stream sample handling. The project will take advantage of the highly selective and fouling-resistant fluorous perfluoropolymer membranes introduced by the academic partner Phil Buhlmann. The Phase II project will optimize the sensing membrane characteristics to improve ion conduction and robustness. It will also assess the factors that affect sensor lifetime and engineer several prototypes to test at mining operations. The broader impacts of this research are significant as it will enable the mining industry to be more sustainable in its approach to mineral recovery. Specifically, the research aims to significantly reduce the amount of toxic chemical waste associated with froth flotation and its inevitable environmental impact. The method has the potential of making the U.S. copper industry more competitive by reducing wasted collector while simultaneously improving mining sustainability by eliminating an estimated 24 tons of unnecessary chemical discharges. In addition to these benefits, the multidisciplinary aspects of this project will train students in synthetic and analytical techniques, involving concepts from chemistry, materials science, and engineering.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government