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

Related content:

New Academy Projects to be launched in September

New Academy Projects funded by the Academy of Finland involve expertise from all six Aalto schools

Organ type of image with white "veins" and small bacteria dots in red background, original image by Valeria Azovskaya

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

Get to know us: Assistant professor Rodrigo Serna

Assistant professor Rodrigo Serna’s goal is to find new ways to produce sufficient raw materials for our modern society. Let’s hear more!

assistant professor rodrigo serna photo by lasse lecklin

A joint laboratory of circular economy was opened in Otaniemi

The Geological Survey of Finland, VTT and Aalto University work together with industry to develop solutions for the needs of a carbon-neutral and resource-efficient society.

Kiertotalouslaboratorio, Ted Nuorivaara

EIT-labelled course generates new talent and future leaders in the mining industry

The European Mining Course demonstrates a remarkable quality in terms of internationalization, educational innovation, entrepreneurship and societal impact.

Photo: Aino Huovio

Latest publications:

Worth from waste: Utilizing a graphite‐rich fraction from spent lithium‐ion batteries as alternative reductant in nickel slag cleaning

Anna Danczak, Ronja Ruismäki, Tommi Rinne, Lassi Klemettinen, Hugh O’Brien, Pekka Taskinen, Ari Jokilaakso, Rodrigo Serna‐Guerrero 2021 Minerals

On the Colloidal Behavior of Cellulose Nanocrystals as a Hydrophobization Reagent for Mineral Particles

Robert Hartmann, Tommi Rinne, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero 2021 Langmuir

The effect of sodium isobutyl xanthate on galena and chalcopyrite flotation in the presence of dithionite ions

Ngoni Mhonde, Leena-Sisko Johansson, Kirsten Corin, Nora Schreithofer 2021 Minerals Engineering

Fundamental and flotation techniques assessing the effect of water quality on bubble-particle attachment of chalcopyrite and galena

L. L. October, M. S. Manono, J. G. Wiese, N. Schreithofer, K. C. Corin 2021 Minerals Engineering

Voltage behavior in lithium-ion batteries after electrochemical discharge and its implications on the safety of recycling processes

Hassan Rouhi, Eero Karola, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero, Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio 2021 Journal of Energy Storage

Automated mineralogy as a novel approach for the compositional and textural characterization of spent lithium-ion batteries

Anna Vanderbruggen, Eligiusz Gugala, Rosie Blannin, Kai Bachmann, Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero, Martin Rudolph 2021 Minerals Engineering
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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