Conductivity is one of the key physico-chemical properties of electrolyte in silver electrorefining since it affects the energy consumption of the process. As electrorefining process development trends towards high current density operation, having electrolytes with high conductivities will greatly reduce the energy consumption of the process. This study outlines investigations into silver electrorefining electrolyte conductivity as a function of silver, free acid, copper and lead concentration at different temperatures via a full factorial design comprising of 246 individual measurements. Regression analysis of the model was used to determine the goodness of fit R2, goodness of prediction Q2, model validity and reproducibility. Conductivity was shown to be enhanced by increases in free acid, copper, silver and lead, with free acid having the highest impact on conductivity. Temperature also increased conductivity in two ways: both as a single factor and as a combined effect with free acid, silver and copper concentration. Overall, this work produced a model of high accuracy that allows conductivity of a range of industrial silver electrorefining conditions to be calculated.
- Conductivity model
- Electrorefining overpotential
- Silver electrolyte