Although transport in porous media under the influence of chemistry and temperature is a common phenomenon, the dissolution and internal structure evolution of glauberite during in-situ mining have been unique and challenging. This uniqueness indicates the complexity of mineral dissolutions, whereas the challenge represents the characterization of pore development and evolution during the dissolution processes. To investigate the microstructure development of glauberite under the influence of chemistry and temperature, experimental studies were performed with fine cuboid specimens of 4 mm × 4 mm × 9 mm soaked in solutions of different concentrations (fresh water, half-saturated, and saturated brine). The evolutions of internal structures were monitored through a micro computed tomography system. The statistical analysis indicated that the concentration and temperature of solutions significantly influenced the evolutions of pore size, porosity, and specific surface area of glauberite. The results showed that the increase in the rates of pore size, porosity, and specific surface area declined with time when glauberite was saturated in fresh water. The main reason for pore parameter variation is the differential concentration of solution. However, in the half-saturated and saturated solutions, the increase in rate increased with time. These observations suggest that the chloride ions contained in the saline solution could facilitate the dissolution of glauberite, whereas the existence of salt effect could contribute to the dissolution of calcium sulfate. Compared with the results at 20°C and 65°C, the studied parameters of glauberite have dramatically decreased when the mineral was soaked in the solutions at high temperature (95°C). This function was most striking in fresh water. The dissolution of glauberite soaked in fresh water or half-saturated brine solution was conditioned by the temperature and solution concentration. However, the dissolution of glauberite was less influenced by temperature at high concentrations. These findings may feature significant implication for the effective recovery of mineral resources by in-situ solution mining method.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||International Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2018|