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1. Microwave metallurgy

   Microwave metallurgy is a new metallurgy technology which has been developed recently and now is an attractive advanced inter-disciplinary field. Taking advantages of microwave heating, it is possible to develop new metallurgy technique and process, which can not be realized under conventional heating method, reforming some traditional metallurgy process and technology, upgrading deep-processing level of metallurgical products, improving the product structure and finally achieving the efficient, energy-saving, and environmental-friendly metallurgical process. It can be expected that the development of microwave metallurgy will play an increasingly important role in the future metallurgical technology, so the microwave metallurgy is included in the application guides for both National Science Foundations and 'Eleven-Five' 863 plans (National High Technology Research and Development Program).

    Within the research fields, (i) The temperature-rising properties of many ores in microwave field have been measured; the temperature rising equations have been derived and calculated; the temperature rising process has been quantized and finally data of several ores' temperature rising characteristics have been acquired. (ii) Microwave drying of various kinds of metallurgical ores and metallurgical chemical products have been performed; microwave calcining of various kinds of metallurgical intermediate products has been performed, and thermodynamics and kinetics of the reaction system and process for metallurgical reduction and leaching under microwave fields have been studied. Thus, the following research areas have been formed:

    ① New technologies of microwave drying

    ② New technologies of microwave calcining

    ③ New technologies of microwave-intensification oxidation- reduction

    ④ New technologies of microwave-intensification leaching

    ⑤ Other new technologies of microwave metallurgy

    ⑥ Theories of the interaction between microwave field and metallurgical materials 

2. Application of microfluidic technology on metallurgy

   The microfluidic technology was used in the basic theory research on the separation of nickel and cobalt by extraction, treatment of leaching solution from copper hydrometallurgy, indium extraction and separation, and so on. The following research directions were formed:

    ① Microfluidic technology and microreactor

    ② Microfluidic hydrometallurgical extraction technology

    ③ Application of microfluidic technology on material preparation 

3. New technique of high gravity metallurgy

   High gravity metallurgy technology was used to the application research on the separation of nickel and cobalt by hydrometallurgical extraction, H2S gas absorption, ammonium sulfite oxidation, low concentration SOabsorption, and so on. The following research directions were formed:

    ① Hydrometallurgical extraction and separation

    ② Industrial tail gas treatment

    ③ Powder material preparation 

4. Application of microwave and microwave-plasma in materials

   Applications of microwave and microwave plasma in materials is being researched by using advantages of microwave heating and microwave plasma, mainly developing new material preparation and material modification, which can improve materials properties, enhancing the product values, and facilitating the energy-saving, consumption-lowering and waste discharge-reducing/gas emissions during material preparation. The technologies represent the cutting edge in materials processing and becomes one of the hot spots in materials research field.

    Several researches have been carried out in sequence: Preparation of activated carbons with super high surface area by microwave heating has been investigated, activated carbons with surface area of more than 4000 m2/g can obtained in short time, and activated carbon with super high surface area can also be produced by microwave-physical activation method. Materials (jades, metal oxides, and carbon materials,etc) modification experiments by microwave or microwave plasma have been investigated, lowering energy consumption under the conditions of enhancing product properties effectively. Microwave initiated self-propagating high-temperature synthesis technique has been developed and AlN and SiC materials have been successfully synthesized. Plasma activated sintering nano-materials has also been investigated and successfully sintered copper powder, nano alumina, cadmium-oxide and WC-Co series hard alloys. The following research areas have been formed:

     ① Activated carbon with super high surface area by microwave heating and its application

     ② Material synthesis by microwave initiated self-propagating high-temperature synthesis technique

     ③ Materials modifications by microwave plasma

     ④ Sintered materials by plasma activation 

5. New technologies and processes of resource comprehensive utilization

   To deal with the severe environment pollution of our country and low capacity of innoxious treatment for contaminants, the ”Comprehensive Controlling and Preventing Pollution and Waste Recycling Utilization” has been listed priority of subjects in Science and Development Design of National Middle-Long Term Outline (2006-2020). “Guiding and Supporting Recycling-Economy Development, Developing Clean Production Integration Technologies for Industries with Heavier Pollution, Intensifying the Wastes Minimization, Resource Utilization and Safety-Handling, and Strengthening the Research on Common Technology of Cycling Economy” are put forward in the development idea. “Focusing on Developing Resource Utilization Technology of Wastes, Building-up and Developing Technical Demonstration Model of Cycling-Economy” are decided as the key factors in the implement.

     New technologies and new facilities are used to process with industrial, agricultural and forestry waste, and refractory ores within the research fields. Kiln slag, spent catalyst, blast furnace sludge and other industrial wastes; straw, nut shells and other agricultural-forestry wastes; and low-level grade refractory ores are used as raw materials to carry out resource comprehensive utilization, resulting in the formation of products with high added values and social economic values. The following research areas have been formed:

    ①  New production technology of activated carbon from agricultural-forestry wastes

    ②  New comprehensive recycling technologies of precious metals from kiln slag

    ③  New comprehensive utilization technologies of spent catalyst

    ④  New comprehensive utilization technologies of low grade and refractory ores 

6. R and D of high temperature microwave reactors

   At present, modified domestic microwave ovens and commercial industrial microwave ovens are usually used to perform experiments in the high temperature reaction fields, although they can be used to carry out exploration experiments and the optimal process conditions at laboratory scale can be obtained, there are some unresolved issues. For example, (i) modified conventional domestic microwave ovens can not meet in-depth and systematic scientific research demands, and economic evaluation can not be given accurately; and (ii) commercial industrial microwave ovens are expensive, and have poor performance and low heating efficiency under specific circumstances.

    To deal with metallurgy, chemical engineering, and materials processing fields, the key laboratory has been developing various high temperature microwave reactors to meet different demands. A series of high temperature microwave reactors with proprietary intellectual property rights, including rotary, box-type, shaft and tunnel furnaces etc., have been developed. A few of high temperature microwave heating pilot-plants with large-scale size, continuity, and automation have been erected, forming the engineering practice and innovation base of combination of teaching, scientific research and production. The following research areas have been formed:

     ① R & D of specialized laboratory high temperature microwave reactors

     ② R & D of specialized industrialized high temperature microwave reactors

     ③ R & D of specialized microwave materials

     ④ Research on reactor cavity calculation, designing methods and cross-coupling rules

     ⑤ Reactor cavity model-building, simulation and optimization

     ⑥ Microwave safety and protection

 
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