Neutralisation

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Neutralisation is a chemical reaction between an acid and a base producing a salt and water. Neutralisation may be required when pH decreases too much or rises too high.

When treating sulphidic minerals pH may fall low as the sulphur in the sulphidic minerals form sulphuric acid when oxidated. Then pH can be increased by neutralisation.

Reasons for neutralisation

  • In acidic leaching
  • In bioleaching
    • to adjust the environment to suit the bioleaching microbes. Decrease or increase pH (even though bioleaching microbes are acidophiles, pH can sink too low even for them).

Neutralising reactions

The reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide solutions is an example of a neutralisation reaction:

Hydrochloric acid + sodium hydroxide → sodium chloride + water

HCl (aq) + NaOH (aq) → NaCl(aq) + H2O(l)

Neutralisation agent

A substance used to neutralise an acidic solution. Examples of neutralisation agents include hydroxides such as sodium hydroxide and carbonate compounds such as calcium carbonate.

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