Robust design of lithium extraction from boron clays by statistical design and analysis of experiments

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2003

Thesis Language: English

Student: Atıl Büyükburç



In this thesis, it is aimed to design lithium extraction from boron clays using statistical design of experiments and robust design methodologies. There are several factors affecting extraction of lithium from clays. The most important of these factors have been limited to a number of six which have been gypsum to clay ratio, roasting temperature, roasting time, leaching solid to liquid ratio, leaching time and limestone to clay ratio. For every factor, three levels have been chosen and an experiment has been designed. After performing three replications for each of the experimental run, signal to noise ratio transformation, ANOVA, regression analysis and response surface methodology have been applied on the results of the experiments. Optimization and confirmation experiments have been made sequentially to find factor settings that maximize lithium extraction with minimal variation. The mean of the maximum extraction has been observed as 83.81% with a standard deviation of 4.89 and the 95% prediction interval for the mean extraction is (73.729, 94.730). This result is in agreement with the studies that have been made in the literature. However; this study is unique in the sense that lithium is extracted from boron clays by using limestone directly from the nature, and gypsum as a waste product of boric acid production. Since these two materials add about 20% cost to the extraction process, the results of this study become important. Moreover, in this study it has been shown that statistical design of experiments help mining industry to reduce the need for standardization.