Devy Dyson

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Modelling the Kinetics of Zinc Sulphide Concentrate Pressure Leaching in Autoclave systems

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Throughout my undergraduate degree, I was passionate about Materials engineering and the concepts introduced. My passion intrigued me to pursue a postgraduate degree in this field. I was offered a great opportunity and an interesting project from my supervisor that motivated me to research in extractive metallurgy. The industrial connection in the project was also attractive, as industrial involvement promotes an incentive to utilize the research being done.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC's hydrometallurgy group in the materials engineering department is well regarded as one of the top research departments in the world. I am proud to be completing a graduate degree here at UBC. The campus is beautiful, and having grown up in Vancouver, I am familiar with the lower mainland. Being close to home is an extra advantage.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I am also an elite gymnast training at the international level. I have found a way to balance 30 hours a week of training with my studies. My goal is to qualify for the Olympics in the future. Recent achievements include qualifying for the World Championships in 2015, which were held in Glasgow, Scotland.


Learn more about Devy's research

Oxidative leaching is a critical step in the processing of ores to extract metals from their mineral constituents. It is necessary to explore the thermodynamics and kinetics in order to optimize the leaching conditions. The project objective is to construct a modern zinc pressure leaching model that utilizes the population balance ideology and the multiple convolution integral ideology for the kinetic calculations while having the ability to take different feed size distributions as inputs from the user. The model should incorporate solubility data that the user can input for the iron species precipitation and have the ability to calculate the kinetics of the iron precipitation. Gibbs free energy minimization is also a challenge in the industry that the model could have the potential for solving. The free energy values can be used to predict thermodynamic equilibria for reaction systems that are crucial for then calculating the kinetics portion of the model. Therefore, the accuracy of these Gibbs free energy calculations directly affects the accuracy of the kinetic models; the thermodynamics must be validated with precision if the kinetic models are to be optimized. Accurate modeling would allow for predictable results at an economical cost; hence, there is an incentive to create improved models. I will be working closely with some industrial partners including Teck Cominco, CEZinc, HudBay Minerals, and Aurel Systems. My project will include site visits to verify model calculations and experiments. I look forward to working with the industry to successfully solve some of the challenges they face.