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ArticleName Understanding the zinc discharge from sodium sulphate solution in the presence of surfactants
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2021.02.03
ArticleAuthor Kozlov P. A., Kolesnikov A. V., Nesmelov V. Yu.

UMMC-Holding Corp, Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Russia:

P. A. Kozlov, Deputy Director Responsible for Research, UMMC Technical University, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


Chelyabinsk State University, Chelyabinsk, Russia:
A. V. Kolesnikov, Head of the Department of Analytical and Physical Chemistry, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant PJSC, Chelyabinsk, Russia:
V. Yu. Nesmelov, Head of the Engineering Centre, Candidate of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


This paper aims to understand the effect of surfactants on zinc discharge in sulphate solutions on a solid electrode and to collect new experimental data that would give a deeper insight into the processes involved in industrial electrolysis. Anionic and cationic coagulants (flocculants) and an anionic frother were used as surfactants. Electrolysis was conducted in the potential region of –1050 to –1250 mV (Ag/АgCl) in stationary and dynamic conditions in sodium sulphate solution under intensive stirring. The authors obtained comparative data on the zinc discharge current in electrolyte with and without frother at the scan velocities of 2 to 100 mV/sec. It is noted that at higher scan velocities (>10–20 mV/sec) and in the initial electrolysis phase the zinc discharge process develops in a mixed mode. In this case, as the study showed, the positive effect of the frother on zinc discharge is most distinguished. A reaction order was designed based on zinc ion with four potentials to prove that the zinc electrowinning process develops in a mixed mode. It is shown that the addition of frother raises the reaction order from 1.2 to 1.5, which is attributed to a larger effective cathode surface area. The data obtained in a galvanostatic mode under intensive stirring conditions indicate that, at the current density of 1.7 mA/cm2, the electrode polarization is 1.6 times lower in the presence of cationic coagulant and almost 3 times lower in the presence of anionic coagulant. The data given in this paper are also indicative of a changing electrolysis mode. Under stirring, a transition is observed from a diffusion mode of zinc ion reduction to a mixed one. The experimental data obtained under intensive stirring conditions in sodium sulphate solution with frother, as well as anionic and cationic coagulants are in line with the theory of electrochemical processes.

keywords Zinc, current density, potential, voltamperogram, polarization, scan velocity, exchange current, flocculants, lignosulphonate, sodium sulphate, reaction order

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