The unsung heroes of copper electro-refinery

Figure 1: Copper electrorefining tankhouse (

Copper is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity and because of these properties, it is the undisputed material of choice for conducting electricity. The quality of the copper should be very good for electrical applications. Bad quality dramatically changes the electrical conductivity and workability. The following qualities are important for copper; Chemical property: ...

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Making amorphous slag

a beautiful shiny amorphous slag obtained after quenching

Work Packages 1 and 2 of the SOCRATES project are working on the extraction and recovery of critical and economically important metals that are present in the investigated tailings, sludges, slags and ashes. This leaves behind residual mineral matrices that can be used in our Work Package 3: “Residual matrix valorization”, possibly requiring prior treatment processes. By activating these (treated) residues ...

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The colourful coordination chemistry

Figure 1- Different solutions of CuO and Cu2O­ in DESs

During your childhood, have you ever mixed dish soap with oil, vinegar with coffee, shampoo with coke? If not, you have no idea what you are missing! As a kid I was always mixing different liquid products (e.g. detergents in my home, dressings at restaurants) pretending to be a chemist. Mixing things and waiting for the result was always my ...

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What do you know about plasma?

Figure 5: Plasma gasification (left), plasma fuming (right)

Plasma is the fourth fundamental state of matter in our universe (we don’t know about the states of matter in other universes yet 😉). In simple words, plasma happens when a gas is brought to an ionized state. But is it all there is to it? Let’s see what else can we know! Let’s imagine, on a stormy night, you ...

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To burn or not to burn… Is that a right question?

Figure 2. Waste hierarchy pyramid (source:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the SOCRATES consortium or any of its members. The Consortium will not take any liability for such statements included in the article. At first, I wanted to write about one weekend, June 15-17, that I spent in ...

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Secondment in KU Leuven: a fruitful experience

Picture of the electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA) of KU Leuven

The Marie Sklodowska Curie European Training Network SOCRATES offers a unique training programme for 15 early stage researchers (ESRs), bundling and strengthening European skills and knowledge through an intersectorial and interdisciplinary cluster of excellence. That is our projects’ nicely put slogan or baseline. In this blog, I will describe how the SOCRATES project puts these nice words into reality. SOCRATES ...

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Do not waste your waste

Circular economy chart [1]

“Do not waste your waste” was our slogan in the “Zero Waste Management Dubrovnik International ESEE Mining School” of November 2017. The school was organized by University of Zagreb Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering Department and supported by EIT Raw Materials. There was a huge participation of 39 researchers coming from all over Europe (Austria, Finland, Croatia, Germany, Poland, ...

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Catalysts and Dragons

Credit: 2010 Chemorphesis

“Once upon a time there was a family living in a small town at the base of a big mountain. On top of that mountain a tremendous dragon, unbeatable by any man, guarded the only known passage to the next valley where a treasure was located. One day, the two sons of the family decided to try to find the ...

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Deep eutectic solvents – A warm relationship

Ionic Liquids and their properties [2]

If you have read my previous articles, you might have noticed that my PhD is about deep eutectic solvents and their application in electrochemical extraction of critical metals from industrial wastes (quite a mouthful, but allow me to explain 🙂 ). Metallurgists and Chemists might be wondering “Why deep eutectic solvents for extraction of metals? Why? I could just use ...

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The priceless metal: Gold


  “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” J. P. Morgan Why is gold one of the most expensive metal in the world? Have you ever thought about it? As I have been working with gold, I thought, maybe it is a good idea to write about this gorgeous metal. I hope you will be more interested in gold and ...

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