Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Mineral Processing and Recycling

Among the major issues facing our modern, civilized world is an ever-increasing demand of raw materials. For that reason, the aim of our group is to find technological solutions to address the current needs related to the production of inorganic raw materials, whether from primary or secondary sources.
Serna_Mineral Processing and recycling
Serna group_Mineral processing and recycling

Our research areas:

  1. Process engineering in service of the circular economy of raw materials

  2. Green chemistry for mineral froth flotation

  3. Physical separation technologies for recycling

Our current research activities include:

  1. Fundamental understanding of interfacial phenomena in mineral froth flotation

  2. Green chemical systems in mineral froth flotation

  3. New physical separation operations for battery waste

  4. Statistical entropy analysis supported by process simulation as a parameter of materials circularity

Serna group_research_batteries_scraps

The Research Group for Mineral Processing and Recycling is led by Prof. Rodrigo Serna. Our approach is to study the underlying phenomena responsible of the performance of mineral processing operations. Of particular interest is the study of the interfacial phenomena occurring during mineral enrichment, in order to gain a practical understanding on the correlation between adsorptive or surface chemical reactions and the macroscopic performance of the operations. Through the understanding of the phenomena involved, it may be possible to propose novel chemical systems that could further improve the efficiency of currently used enrichment operations, or even propose new processing methods altogether. The research group also counts with expertise in computational fluid dynamics with which alternative processing systems or new designs of mechanical components can be tested.

Our current research projects deal with the exploration of green chemicals for flotation and the quality and potential cross-contamination in water circuits. Our research group is also responsible for the courses related to mineral processing and recycling, including fundamentals, unit operations and plant design.

Serna group_recycling_publication
Cover pic of a journal by our group

Join us!

  • We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve the way in which we produce raw materials. We believe there is a better way for mining and recycling, both with new technologies and the active involvement of society. If you would like to know more about our group’s activities, please contact us ([email protected]).
  • Are you already a student at Aalto looking for thesis topics or internships? Please enquire directly with us about opportunities ([email protected])
  • Interested on Doctoral studies in our team? Please check Aalto careers website for available positions

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Ecofriendly chemicals can actually improve mineral processing

Nontoxic and biodegradable cellulose-based compound accelerates the mineral separation processes and reduces the use of other chemicals

Copper mineral concentrated after flotation. Image: Nina Pulkkis

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Latest publications:

A multi-dimensional indicator for material and energy circularity: proof-of-concept of exentropy in Li-ion battery recycling

Minerva Vierunketo, Anna Klemettinen, Markus Reuter, Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio, Rodrigo Serna Guerrero 2023 iScience

Exentropy: a novel engineering tool to evaluate energy and material circularity

Minerva Vierunketo, Anna Klemettinen, Markus Reuter, Rodrigo Serna Guerrero 2023

Physical-chemical study of IPETC and PAX collector's adsorption on covellite surface

Yesica L. Botero, Andrés Canales-Mahuzier, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero, Alejandro López-Valdivieso, Mostafa Benzaazoua, Luis A. Cisternas 2022 Applied Surface Science

Toward the Implementation of Circular Economy Strategies: An Overview of the Current Situation in Mineral Processing

Luis A. Cisternas, Javier I. Ordóñez, Ricardo I. Jeldres, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero 2022 Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review

N-Alkylated Chitin Nanocrystals as a Collector in Malachite Flotation

Robert Hartmann, Marco Beaumont, Eva Pasquier, Thomas Rosenau, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero 2022 ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering

Improving the flotation recovery of Cu from flash smelting slags by utilizing cellulose-based frother formulationss

Ted Nuorivaara, Anna Klemettinen, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero 2022 Minerals Engineering
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal
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