A corrosion inhibition study of steel grinding balls in an oxygen and alkaline environment
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The corrosion of steel grinding balls is a major recurrent cost for mill operators concerned with the production gold. Subsequently, the use of corrosion inhibitors in production fluids, which is typically at pH >9, is an attractive and economical option. This study reports on the corrosion wear of steel grinding balls under alkaline/oxygen conditions and in presence of cyanide. A fundamental study on the influence of several inorganic-based inhibitors (i.e., nitrite, chromate, silicate, hexametaphosphate) on the corrosion rate of carbon steel was undertaken. Subsequently, the corrosion performances of various inhibitors were evaluated in stirred vessels. Corrosion rates were determined via mass loss and electrochemical methods (i.e., linear polarisation, Tafel). It was observed that inhibitors based upon chromate provide superior protection under the conditions investigated in this study. In lime treated, high chloride waters, chromate gave over 80% protection at levels of 10 100 ppm with no evidence of pitting.
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