The distribution of metallic elements in granulated nickel converter matte phases
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Metallic elements occupy a wide range in granulated nickel converter matte phases. The distribution of these metallic elements, particularly during crystallization path events, appears to be poorly understood. The present study serves to investigate the distribution of Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, and Pb between nickel-sulphide, copper-sulphide, and alloy phases. A novel combination of thermochemical modelling, electron microscopy, and electron probe microanalysis was applied to understand crystallization path events and the associated metallic element distribution. This study has demonstrated that major Ni incorporated during copper-sulphide crystallization would serve to mobilize minor Co towards distribution in copper-sulphide phases. In addition, solid solution substitution of Cu by Ni is manifested by compositional zoning of copper-sulphide phases. The role played by Ni during alloy crystallization suggests that minor Co was also mobilized, along with an increase in principal Ni. Fe, by contrast, seems to be incompatible with principal Ni. In addition, solid solution substitution of Ni with PGEs and Cu is manifested by compositional zoning of NiCu-alloy phases.
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