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New high-grade cathode specifications are including specific impurity limits to meet the more stringent requirements of the continuous cast rod market. Improved cathode sampling and analytical methods are necessary to confirm specification compliance. A better sampling plan is to collect either saw cuttings or cut sections from the cathodes which would then be melted and cast to obtain adequate impurity representation. Interest in obtaining lower impurity detection limits is leading to more support for the electrothermal and vapor generation methods of atomic absorption spectrometry. Even after the improved methods of sampling and analyzing copper cathodes have been tested and adopted, frequent interaction between the cathode producer and consumer will be important to monitor product quality compliance.
product specifications, continuous cast rod, cathodes, impurity behavior, electrolytic refined copper, sampling, analysis, cathode marketing
Supervisor, Analytical Research Laboratories, Anaconda Minerals Company, Tucson, Ariz.