On-line monitoring of aqueous base metal solutions with transmittance spectrophotometry
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Transmittance spectrophotometry was used to monitor copper, cobalt and zinc in solution in laboratory experiments. The samples simulated plant conditions encountered on the Skorpion zinc mine in Namibia and were prepared using a simplex centroid mixture design. Principal component, partial least squares and support vector regression models were calibrated from visible and near infrared absorption spectra. All models could accurately estimate the concentrations of all the metals in solution. Although these models were affected by nickel contamination, the Cu models were less sensitive to this contamination than the Co and Zn models. Likewise, elevated temperatures led to degradation of the calibrated models, particularly the Zn models. The effects of these conditions could be visualized by a linear discriminant score plot of the spectral data.
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