Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering


The Research Group for Metallurgy is led by Prof. Ari Jokilaakso, and our activities cover metals processing from low-grade and complex ore-based resources and recycled metal-bearing scrap or waste. Experimental research focuses on the time-dependent (kinetics) behaviour and distribution of elements in metallurgical melts. In addition, computer simulation of flow and heat transfer phenomena and chemical kinetics of high temperature metallurgical processes.
Pyrometallurgy_research Ronja Ruismäki, photo Valeria Azovskaya

Our research areas:

  1. Physicochemical fundamentals and modelling of metallurgical operations

  2. Kinetics of metallurgical reactions especially in non-ferrous metals production

  3. Recycling of e-scrap and energy storage materials in pyrometallurgical processes

The current research activities focus on physicochemical fundamentals and modelling of metallurgical operations, slags, mattes, ceramics and other high-temperature materials. Processes that benefit from this research include modern extractive and refining processes for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, casting and solidification as well as materials synthesis and behaviour at high temperatures. The main emphasis is on better understanding of metallurgical phenomena by combining experimental studies with computer simulation and modelling.

The Group’s strengths include expertise in thermodynamics, kinetics and transport phenomena as well as solid qualification in experimental research and material characterization.

Our research highlights:

Beheviour of batteries
A typical sample microstructure
  • Behavior of Battery Metals Lithium, Cobalt, Manganese and Lanthanum in Black Copper Smelting:

Recycling of metals from different waste streams must be increased in the near future for securing the availability of metals that are critical for high-tech applications, such as batteries for e-mobility. Black copper smelting is a flexible recycling route for many different types of scrap, including Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and some end-of-life energy storage materials. Fundamental thermodynamic data about the behavior of battery metals and the effect of slag additives is required for providing data necessary for process development, control, and optimization. The goal of our study is to investigate the suitability of black copper smelting process for recycling of battery metals lithium, cobalt, manganese, and lanthanum.

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Outotec flash smelting furnace
Illustration of the Outotec flash smelting furnace
  • Computational Approaches for Studying Slag–MatteInteractions in the Flash Smelting Furnace(FSF) Settler:

Computational methods have become reliable tools in many disciplines for research andindustrial design. There are, however, an ever-increasing number of details waiting to be included in the models and software, including, e.g., chemical reactions and many physical phenomena, such asparticle and droplet behavior and their interactions. The dominant method for copper production,flash smelting, has been extensively investigated, but the settler part of the furnace containing moltenhigh temperature melts termed slag and matte, still lacks a computational modeling tool. In this paper,two commercial modeling software programs have been used for simulating slag–matte interactionsin the settler, the target being first to develop a robust computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeland, second, to apply a new approach for molten droplet behavior in a continuum. The latter isbased on CFD coupled with the discrete element method (DEM), which was originally developedfor modeling solid particle–particle interactions and movement, and is applied here for individualdroplets for the first time.

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Kinetics_rare elements
A): SEM-secondary electron image of laser pits in matte phase. (B): Time-resolved analysis signals for neodymium (143Nd) of the LA-ICP-MS measurements on the copper sulfide mattes of samples contacted in air for 20 s and 300 s at 1300 °C.
  • Distribution Kinetics of Rare Earth Elements in Copper Smelting:

The use of rare earth elements (REEs) is increasing, mainly due to the growing demand for electric vehicles and new applications in green technology. This results in annual growth of the in-use REE stocks and the amount of End-of-Life (EoL) products containing REEs. REEs are considered critical elements by the EU, mainly because the rest of the world is dependent on China’s supply. Recycling of REEs can help alleviate the criticality of REEs, however, no REEs are currently functionally recycled. In this study, the time-dependent behavior of REEs in copper matte-slag system in primary copper smelting conditions was investigated experimentally at a laboratory scale.

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LabPhoto_Glen Forde

“Metallurgy – Work that has a meaning”: metallurgy / metallurgists will save the world as the modern life is not possible without metals.

Ari Jokilaakso

"Green” energy and electrification of vehicles need more metals (exponentially increasing amounts) and, therefore, metals production has to be developed for maximized yield and all metal products should be recycled back to metals production, which necessitates metallurgical basic research work.

- Ari Jokilaakso

Research group members

Marko Kekkonen

T106 Chemical and Metallurgical Eng

Related content:

Professor Ari Jokilaakso visited A-Studio on Monday, 15th March 2021 (external link)

The topic was about cobalt coming from the Republic of the Congo and the ethical challenges related to it. This clip starts at min. 23.25 (In Finnish).

Ari Jokilaakso, A-studio

Towards carbon-neutrality in metal production – new €18 million project to develop solutions for reducing CO2 emissions

Metal processing industry has the greatest greenhouse gas reduction potential of Finland's manufacturing industries. Joint project between companies and universities is a significant step towards carbon-neutral metal production.

Metalls, CMET

How to get companies in the metal industry more employees and more students for the master’s degree programme?

‘The great thing about this cooperation is that everyone wins,’ said Ari Jokilaakso, Professor of metallurgy.

Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

The sustainable use of metals is at the core of fighting climate change – It’s no use to substitute walking with electric scooters

Electric cars and electric scooters are not environmentally friendly options if they are used as an alternative to walking or cycling, for example. Different metals are constantly needed in increasing amounts for batteries, for example. The challenge is both ecological and social.

akkumetalli kierrätys batchircle

Half a million funding from Business Finland for the development of circular economy of metals

The funded sub-project of Aalto is part of SYMMET, which is searching for solutions to the increasing need for metallic materials.

Metallurgian tutkimuslaitteistoa / kuva: Glen Forde

Metallurgists are needed to fix the sustainability gap

Professor of Metallurgy Ari Jokilaakso’s researches the behaviour of chemical elements at high temperatures. He wants to give students a real understanding of chemical phenomena.

Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Metals needed for climate solutions – will what we have be enough?

Metal recovery and production processes using secondary raw materials must be developed and awareness of the need for recycling increased.

Liikenne / kuva: Adolfo Vera

Latest publications:

Ignition and combustion of synthetic nickel mattes in simulated flash smelting conditions

Min Chen, Dmitry Sukhomlinov, Pekka Taskinen, David Grimsey, Anthony Rich, Ari Jokilaakso 2024 Minerals Engineering

Recovery of Metals from Copper Smelting Slag Using Coke and Biochar

Min Chen, Dmitry Sukhomlinov, Pekka Taskinen, Joseph Hamuyuni, Radoslaw M. Michallik, Mari Lindgren, Ari Jokilaakso 2024 Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy

Microstructure and thermal properties of dissimilar M300–CuCr1Zr alloys by multi-material laser-based powder bed fusion

Xiaoshuang Li, Dmitry Sukhomlinov, Zaiqing Que 2024 International Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials

Nitrogen Control in Production of N-Alloyed Stainless Steels in AOD Converter: Application of Sieverts’ Law

Jyrki Pitkälä, Lauri Holappa, Ari Jokilaakso 2024 Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science

A Crucial Step Toward Carbon Neutrality in Pyrometallurgical Reduction of Nickel Slag

Desmond Attah-Kyei, Dmitry Sukhomlinov, Mia Tiljander, Lassi Klemettinen, Pekka Taskinen, Ari Jokilaakso, Daniel Lindberg 2023 Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy

Extraction of Cobalt from Lithium-Ion Battery Scrap via Selective Sulfation Roasting

Jayasree Biswas, Sofia Ulmala, Xingbang Wan, Jere Partinen, Mari Lundström, Ari Jokilaakso 2023 Proceedings - European Metallurgical Conference, EMC 2023

Selective Sulfation Roasting for Cobalt and Lithium Extraction from Industrial LCO-Rich Spent Black Mass

Jayasree Biswas, Sofia Ulmala, Xingbang Wan, Jere Partinen, Mari Lundström, Ari Jokilaakso 2023 Metals

Investigation on the Matte/Slag/Spinel/Gas Equilibria in the Cu-Fe-O-S-SiO2-(CaO, Al2O3) system at 1250 °C and pSO2 of 0.25 atm

Min Chen, Katri Avarmaa, Pekka Taskinen, Radoslaw Michallik, Ari Jokilaakso 2023 Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review

Novel fluxing strategy of copper matte smelting and trace metals in E-Waste recycling

Min Chen, Katri Avarmaa, Pekka Taskinen, Lassi Klemettinen, Radoslaw Michallik, Hugh O'Brien, Ari Jokilaakso 2023 Minerals Engineering
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal
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