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Microwave Heating of Chemicals and Minerals
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  • Description:
    The U.S. Bureau of Mines has determined the microwave heating rates for a suite of minerals and reagent-grade compounds. Maximum temperature achieved for the samples and the time required to reach temperature are reported. Heating rates of powdered samples are presented as a function of incident powers up to 3,000 W at 2,450 MHz. Descriptions of the microwave cavities, test cells, and a thermocouple assembly used to measure temperature in the microwave field are given. Many minerals of value heated in the microwave field, whereas host rock or gangue materials did not. In general, heating rates increased as incident power was increased. Exceptions to this were some very good (CuO, Fe304, and PbS) and very poor (CaC03 and SiO2) microwave-absorbing materials that showed negligible changes with increased power. Applications demonstrating the use of microwave energy in mineral processing that are described herewith include oxidation-reduction reactions, mineral liberation, and mercury retorting-vaporization. Microwave data on mineral heating rates will provide insight to possible chemical and mineral processing applications as well as assist in predictions of processing parameters.

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