Zinc refining is the process of purifying
zincto at least 99.995% pure (SHG zinc). This process isn't usually required when smelting zinc through electrolysisprocesses, but is needed when zinc is produced by pyrometallurgicalprocesses, because it is only 98.5% pure.
There are various refining methods, but the refluxing process is the most commonly used.
New Jersey Zinc Companyinvented this process in 1930.
The process take advantage of the the relatively low boiling point of zinc (convert|907|C|F) as compared to the impurities being removed in the first "column":
ironand aluminium. Therefore, in the first column the zinc is heated above its boiling point and allowed to rise to a condenser. The other impurities sink to the bottom in the form of a solid or liquid. There is still leadand cadmium, in the form of vapor, impurities. In order to remove the lead 2-3% of the vapor is condensed, which draws the majority of the lead out of the vapor; down to the point where it is only 0.003% of the total contents. Finally the vapor is pumped into the cadmium column where it is cooled to an intermediate temperature below the boiling point zinc, but still above the boiling point of cadmium (convert|767|C|F). The zinc leaves out the bottom as a refined liquid, while the cadmium leaves out the top as vapor.
*Citation | last = Porter | first = Frank | title = Zinc Handbook: Properties, Processing, and Use in Design | publisher = CRC Press | pages = 21-22 | year = 1991 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=laACw9i0D_wC | isbn = 0824783409.
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