Murdoch University researchers have come up with a new approach to make the recovery of high value precious metals faster and more economically viable.

Dr Chun-Yang Yin and Dr Aleksandar Nikoloski said the rising cost of metals such as platinum and palladium made recovery economically and environmentally vital.

Their technique – which was trialled by extracting platinum and palladium from a spent automotive catalyst leach solution – has shown major advantages over conventional methods.

“Traditional mineral extraction uses a time-consuming two-stage process which sees a mineral leach solution and an extractant vigorously mixed before being transferred to a settler,” Dr Yin said.

“The new microfluidics approach is a single-stage process which sees the leach solution and extractant pumped along two very fine micro-channels embedded in a PYREXTM microchip.

“This nano-level interplay results in increased surface-to-volume ratio and improved metal ion transfer, with 99 per cent of extraction occurring within a single second.

“This really could transform the purification technology for platinum group metals and the niche minerals industry.”

Read more >>