Doctoral School on Cement Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland

ESR 11, Jennifer Astoveza (first from the right), during a practical session in the laboratory at EPFL

Representing Kerneos Research and Technology Centre (Imerys Aluminates) and the SOCRATES project, I participated in April 2018 to the 4th ‘LC3 Doctoral School‘ hosted by the Laboratory of Construction Materials of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). LC3 stands for Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LCCC, so LC3). The 4-day event was well-attended by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and professionals from over ...

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Bacteria! Helpful organisms in the metal extraction world


Mining industry is facing the challenge of finding simpler, higher grade ores. They seem less and less available, so, in order to get the materials we consume, we need to develop new processes to extract materials from low grade ores. Not only primary ores should be investigated, but also mine tailings, which is the leftover solids from past ore processing. ...

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Fifty Shades of Recovered Metal

The "Fifty Shades of Grey" Union Jack

Cementation is defined as the precipitation of a noble metal when it comes into contact with a less noble one. Since Roman times, this process has been applied in many metallurgical industries for contact plating, recovering valuable metals from waste solutions etc. However it has never been used before for painting! Stelios (ESR 5), in his research towards the selective ...

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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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