Journals →  Tsvetnye Metally →  2017 →  #7 →  Back

ArticleName Optimization of colloid regimes in electrolytic copper refining technology
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2017.07.04
ArticleAuthor Shulga E. V., Yurev A. I., Solovev E. M., Soloveva N. D.

MMC “Norilsk Nickel”, Norilsk, Russia:

E. V. Shulga, Head of Laboratory, Center of Engineering Support of Production
A. I. Yurev, Executive Officer, Center of Engineering Support of Production, e-mail:


LLC “Institute Gipronikel”, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
E. M. Solovev, Senior Researcher of Laboratory of Metallurgy


Yuri Gagarin State Technical University of Saratov, Saratov, Russia:
N. D. Soloveva, Professor of a Chair “Chemical Technologies”


Choosing the optimal colloid regime is a crucial technological parameter as it determines the technical-economical indicators of electrolytic processes and cathode copper quality. The technology for electrorefining of copper, which is employed in the Polar Branch of MMC “Norilsk Nikel”, uses a complex of additives such as hide glue, thiourea and chlorine ions. The essential shortcoming of adding thiourea into copper electrolyte is that sulphide sulphur gets into cathode metal, which negatively affects the spiral extension indicator. In order to lower the concentration of thiourea in the electrolyte, it is recommended to use a supplementary additive called Aviton. It contains hexavalent sulphur which practically doesn’t get into cathode copper. Thiourea and Aviton additive’s effect on cathode polarisation of copper electrode in sulphate copper-nickel electrolyte was researched. Cathode polarisation curves for different concentrations of colloid additives are presented. It was determined that low concentrations of thiourea lead to cathode depolarisation, whilst increased concentration of Aviton inhibits cathodic deposition of copper. Laboratory and experimental-industrial tests with a goal to choose a regime for dosing of superficially active substances through fluent correction of concentration of thiourea and Aviton were carried out. The usage of “Aviton” additive in connection with hide glue and thiourea in laboratory tests lead to lowering the level sulphur in cathodic depositions to (5–6)·10–4 % without deterioration of technological indicators of the process. The recommended colloid regime, based on the results of experimental-industrial tests (g/t of copper: 84 hide glue; 50 thiourea; 15 Aviton A) enabled a better visual appearance of copper cathodes and enhanced the chemical composition and spiral extension of cathode copper.

keywords Electrolytic refining, cathode copper, superficially active substances, colloid regime, thiourea, Aviton, cathode polarisation

1. Loshkarev Yu. M. Some issues of theory and practice of electrical sedimentation of metals and alloys in the conditions of SAS adsorption on electrodes. Elektrokhimiya. 1977. Vol. 13, No. 7. pp. 1020–1025.
2. Dzhakipbekova N. O., Sakibaeva S. A., Isa A. B., Erkebaeva G. Sh., Tasanbaeva N. E. Research of process of electrodeposition of copper in the presence of water-soluble SAS of polyelectrolytes. Fundamentalnye issledovaniya. 2013. No. 10-3. pp. 539–542.
3. Nakano H., Oue H. S., Fukushima H., Kobayashi S., Tomioka K. Synergistic Effects of Thiourea, Polymer Additives and Chloride Ions on Copper Electrorefining. Proceedings of Copper 2010. Vol. 4. Electrowinning and -refining. Hamburg, Germany, 6–10 june 2010. pp. 1531–1545.
4. Nadirov E. G., Aydymbaeva Zh. A. The influence of organic additives on the copper deposit quality at electrolysis. Universum: Tekhnicheskie nauki: elektronnyy nauchnyy zhurnal. 2014. No. 7 (8). Available at:
5. Muhlare T. A., Groot D. R. The effect of electrolyte additives on cathode surface quality during copper electrorefining. The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. 2011. Vol. 111. pp. 371–378.
6. Stelter M. Purer cathodes by new additives in copper electrorefining. Proceedings of Copper 2013. Vol. 4. Electrowinning and Electrorefining. Santiago, Chile, 1–4 December 2013.
7. Kolbasov A. M., Aleksandrov A. V., Panov N. A., Katerova N. A. Radiochemical definition of the content of sulphur, introduced by thiourea in cathode copper. Tsvetnye Metally. 1969. No. 11. pp. 22, 23.
8. Stelter M., Bombach H. Chemisches und elektrochemisches Verhalten verschiedener Additive bei der Kupferraffinationselektrolyse. Erzmetall. 2012. Vol. 65, No. 2. pp. 94–100.
9. Kozlov S. L., Yudin E. V., Yurev A. I., Salimzhanova E. V., Shulga E. V. Improvement of physical and mechanic characteristics of cathode copper. Tsvetnye Metally. 2013. No. 6. pp. 73–78.
10. Chetverkin A. Yu., Solovev E. M., Volkov L. V., Goryachkin Yu. N. Experience of introduction of Aviton additive in the copper electrolysis shop (the joint enterprise “Pankom-Yun”). Tsvetnye Metally. 2008. No. 4. pp. 43–45.
11. Gaydarenko O. V., Chernyshov V. I., Chernyshov Yu. I. Method of measurement of the potential of working electrode of current-carrying electrochemical cell. Patent RF, No. 2106620, IPC G 01 N 27/26. Applied and patent-holder: PLC Innovation enterprise “Tegran”. Applied: 26.04.1996. Published: 10.03.1998.
12. State Standard GOST R 8.590–2001. Copper. Grades. Introduced: 2002-01-07.
13. Shulga E. V., Kuzmina I. S., Ryabinin V. V., Yurev A. I. Influence of thiourea on indicators of the process of electric refining of copper in sulphatechloride electrolyte. Nauchnyy vestnik Arktiki. 2017. No. 1. pp. 6–10.
14. Shulga E. V., Ryabinin V. V., Saverskaya T. P., Yurev A. I. Influence of hide glue on electrochemical characteristics of copper electrorefining in copper-nickel sulphate electrolyte. VIII All-Russian scientific conference “Modern methods in theoretical and experimental electrochemistry” : thesises of reports. Ples, Ivanovo oblast, September 19–23, 2016. p. 168.

Language of full-text russian
Full content Buy