We live in a material world. Today, the function of a materials engineer is to research, develop, build, and run systems that convert raw materials into valuable engineered products that improve the quality of our lives. Metals were at the forefront of technology throughout the industrial revolution and have since been the cornerstone of our contemporary civilization and its expansion. Imagining a world without electronics, transportation systems, household appliance, structures, and machinery is impossible.


What is Metallurgy and Mineral Processing?


Metallurgy and mineral processing is the study and understanding of metallic elements' physical and chemical behavior, their compounds, and alloy making and falls under the Materials Sciences and Engineering umbrella. Metals and mineral products are all around us: at home, on our route to and from work, and at our workplaces or factories. They produce contemporary airplanes, transportation vehicles (automobiles, railways, and ships), and recreational vehicles; structures; implantable devices; cutlery and cookware; coinage and jewelry; guns; and musical instruments. While alternative material options pose several dangers, metals remain at the forefront and the sole option for many industrial applications.


Apart from researching new materials and procedures to manufacture gear and equipment, metallurgists are also interested in testing new theories and models to comprehend them better. We now have the ability to measure qualities at the macro, micro, nano, and atomic levels, providing us with unparalleled access to drive new advancements. Our society's reliance on diverse metals creates the groundwork for metallurgical engineering careers in the current world. A metallurgical engineer must be able to detect the origin of metal flaws and prescribe alternative treatments in addition to manufacturing metal goods.


Metallurgy and Mineral Processing Contribution towards GDP


The metallurgical(y) and mineral processing sector is a major contributor to the economy of a country. The metallurgy sector contributes about 8% of the GDP and 7% of the employment in the manufacturing industry. A significant portion of this contribution comes from mining, which accounts for about 2/3rds of total metal production. The contribution from the metallurgy and mineral processing sector is not only from metal production but also from its associated industries such as engineering and construction. The metallurgy and mineral processing sector provides specialty metals to the manufacturing industry and the manufacturing sector in turn, provides many products used for construction, transportation, aerospace and other sectors. The metallurgical and mineral processing industry includes more than 65 different types of engineering, 96 types of construction and corrosion-resistant materials. The metallurgy sector has many different sectors contributing to the economy, including mining, manufacturing, engineering, construction and specialty metals.


Research and Innovation in Metallurgy and Mineral Processing


  • High-strength, high-conductivity alloys for non-rare-earth induction motors used in EV traction systems and elsewhere in the car (high-efficiency motors for blowers, window-lifting, convenience features, windscreen wipers, fuel pumps, and starter/generators).


  • For example, materials with high rigidity and stiffness prevent buckling slender elements, e.g., reenforced foam materials could be considered as having higher stiffness.


  • Innovation may be seen in the production of fire-safe steel through the use of carbides.


  • The use of materials technologies to manage bio-pathogens/microbes, such as antimicrobial copper.


  • New composites like highly conducting carbon nanotubes embedded in Cu (copper) wires can play an important role in the economy and the efficiency of electrical energy transport.


  • In the case of marine and offshore applications, new corrosion protection systems can be provided by metallurgical solutions.


The book "Metallurgical Testing and Assaying Methods with R- programming," by Francis Dakubo can be used in conjunction with the text on aqueous metallurgy (hydrometallurgy and flotation) or any other theoretical metallurgy books for insides into the theory behind the experiments. The experimental procedures in this book will also help formulate quick tests in the laboratory for most, if not all, troubleshooting issues in metallurgical and Mineral processing plants and day-to-day planning for research and development (RD) and feasibility studies. Experimentation is how we find new ways of doing our work better and how we continuously improve processes and businesses.