SoS RARE, HIF collaboration

Dresden Zwinger. Photo Copyright Camilla Owens

Between the 1st and 28th of October I visited Helmholtz Institute of Resource Technology Freiberg, HIF (a SoS Rare international research partner), in Germany to collaborate on a short term research placement. My visit was organised by Dr Martin Rudolph (the head of the Mineral Processing department at HIF) and I was lucky enough to collaborate with Edgar Schach who has just finished his Master's at HIF.

Dr Martin Rudolph, Edgar Schach and Milly Owens at HIF. Photo Copyright Camilla Owens

My research is focused on the fundamentals of froth flotation, which is used to process rare earth deposits. In particular we researched the effects that nanobubbles, tiny bubbles hundreds of times thinner than the width of a human hair, have on flotation. Nanobubbles were only discovered in the 1990's and are an exciting area of fundamental science that is slowly being applied to industrial research. The placement was highly successful with data analysis ongoing both at HIF and at CSM.

Luminescence at the Terra Mineralia in Freiberg. Copyright Camilla Owens. Photo Copyright Camilla Owens

During my time in Germany I had time to visit the local Terra Mineralia Museum in Freiberg which hosts one of the world’s best mineral collections. It was a superb visit and the gallery of luminescent minerals was particularly stunning. During one of the weekends I also had time to pop to Dresden to visit the Zwinger palace and see the amazing architecture.

This visit could not have gone ahead without the fantastic support of Dr Martin Rudolph and the Helmholtz Institute of Resource Technology, Freiberg. Special thanks to Will Dawes of Mkango Resources Ltd for his support of this placement. I would also like to thank Nathalie Sterbik, Bent Babel and Lisa Ditscherlein for their invaluable help whilst at HIF.

Milly Owens, Friday 28th October 2016

AFM lab, where the hunt for nanobubbles was conducted at HIF. Photo Copyright Camilla Owens

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