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Wencai Zhang

Assistant Professor
118A Surge Building


Mineral Processing; Flotation Chemistry; Rare Metal Extraction and Purification, Hydrometallurgy


B.S. Mineral Processing Engineering, Shandong University of Science and Technology, 2011
M.S. Mineral Processing Engineering, Central South University, 2013
Ph.D. Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky, 2017

  • Rare earth elements recovery and purification from coal-related materials;
  • Flotation surface chemistry of rare earth, sulfide, carbonate, silicate, oxide minerals, etc.;
  • Processing and beneficiation of low-grade, finely-dispersed ores;
  • Recycling and utilization of industrial and urban wastes;
  • Molecular dynamics and DFT simulation of chemical adsorption on mineral and material surfaces.
  • MINE 3534: Mineral Processing
  • MINE 4504: Materials Handling and Power Systems
  1. Zhang W., Liu C., (2019). The effect of diesel emulsification using sodium petroleum sulfonate on carbon flotation from fly ash. Waste Management (Accepted, in publication).
  2. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2019). Enhanced leachability of rare earth elements from calcined products of bituminous coals. Minerals Engineering (Accepted, in publication).
  3. Honaker R., Zhang W., Werner J., (2019). Acid Leaching of Rare Earth Elements from Coal and Coal Ash: Implications for Using Fluidized Bed Combustion to Assist in the Recovery of Critical Materials. Energy & Fuels, 33(7), 5971-5980.
  4. Liu C., Zhang W., Song S., Li H., (2019). Study on the activation mechanism of lead ions in wolframite flotation using benzyl hydroxamic acid as the collector. Minerals Engineering, 105859.
  5. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2019). Calcination pretreatment effects on acid leaching characteristics of rare earth elements from a bituminous source coal. Fuel, 249, 130-145.
  6. Liu C., Zhang W., Song S., Li H., Liu Y., (2019). Flotation separation of smithsonite from calcite using 2-phosphonobutane-1, 2, 4-tricarboxylic acid as a depressant. Powder Technology, 352, 11-15.
  7. Zhang W., Honaker R., (2019). Low-cost selective precipitation circuit for recovery of rare earth elements from acid leachate of coal waste. U.S. Patent Application No. 16/185, 120.
  8. Liu C., Zhang W., Li H., (2019). Selective flotation of apatite from calcite using 2-phosphonobutane-1,2,4-tricarboxylic acid as depressant. Minerals Engineering, 136, 62-65.
  9. Liu C., Zhang W., Song S., Li H., (2019). Effects of lizardite on pentlandite flotation at different pH: Implications for the role of particle-particle Interaction. Minerals Engineering, 132, 8-13.
  10. Liu C., Zhang W., Song S., Li H., (2019). A novel method to improve carboxymethyl cellulose actions in the flotation of talc. Minerals Engineering, 137, 23-27.
  11. Liu C., Zhang W., Song S., Jiao X., (2019). A novel insight of the effect of sodium chloride on the sulfidization of cerussite. Powder Technology, 344, 103-107.
  12. Feng B., Peng J., Zhang W., Ning X., Guo Y., Zhang W., (2018). Use of locust bean gum in flotation separation of chalcopyrite and talc. Minerals Engineering, 2018, 79-83.
  13. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2018). Rare earth recovery using staged precipitation from a leachate generated from coarse coal refuse, International Journal of Coal Geology, 195, 189-199.
  14. Honaker R.Q., Zhang W., Yang X., Rezaee M., (2018). Conception of an integrated flowsheet for rare earth elements recovery from coal coarse refuse, Minerals Engineering, 122, 233-240.
  15. Zhang W., Yang X., Honaker R.Q., (2018). Association characteristic study and preliminary recovery investigation of rare earth elements (REEs) from a Fire Clay coal, Fuel, 215, 551-560.
  16. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., Groppo J., (2018). Flotation of monazite in the presence of calcite part II: Enhanced separation performance using sodium silicate and EDTA. Minerals Engineering, 127, 318-328.
  17. Honaker R.Q., Yang X., Chandra A., Zhang W., Werner J., (2018). Hydrometallurgical extraction of rare earth elements from coal sources. Processing of Critical Metal. Extraction. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Aug 26-29.
  18. Chen Y., Shi Q., Feng Q., Lu Y., Zhang W., (2018). The effect of conditioning on the flotation of pyrrhotite in the presence of chlorite, Minerals, 7(7), 125, 1-12. SCIE
  19. Ai G., Liu C., Zhang W., (2018). Utilization of sodium humate as a selective depressant for calcite on the flotation of scheelite. Separation Science and Technology, 53:13, 2136-2143.
  20. Chen Y., Shi Q., Feng Q., Lu Y., Zhang W., (2017). Flotation separation of scheelite from calcite using mixed collectors. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 169, 106-110.
  21. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., Groppo J., (2017). Flotation of monazite in the presence of calcite part I: Calcium ion effects on the adsorption of hydroxamic acid, Minerals Engineering, 100, 40-48.
  22. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., Groppo J., (2017). Concentration of rare earth minerals from coal by froth flotation, Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, 34(3), 132-137.
  23. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2017). Surface charges of monazite in aqueous systems, Powder Technology, 318, 263-271.
  24. Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2017). A fundamental study of the adsorption of hydroxamic acid on monazite, International Journal of Mineral Processing, 164, 26-36.
  25. Zhang W., Honaker R., Groppo J., (2016). Fundamental study of the effects of sodium hexametaphosphate in monazite-calcite flotation system, XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress. Qu├ębec, Canada, Sep 11-15.
  26. Zhang W., Honaker R., (2015). Studies on carbon flotation from fly ash, Fuel Processing Technology, 139, 236-241.
  27. Zhang W., Rezaee M., Bhagavatula A., Li Y., Groppo J., Honaker R., (2015). A Review of the occurrence and promising recovery methods of rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts, International Journal of Coal Preparation and Utilization, 35(6), 295-330.
  28. Hower J., Groppo J., Henke K. R., Hood M. M., Eble C. F., Honaker R. Q., Zhang W., Qian D., (2015). Notes on the potential for the concentration of rare earth elements and yttrium in coal combustion fly ash, Minerals, 5(2), 356-366.
  29. Zhang W., Groppo J., Honaker R., (2015). Ash beneficiation for REE recovery, World of Coal Ash Conference, Nasvhille, TN, May 5-7.
  30. Zhang W., Honaker R., Li Y., Chen J., (2014). The importance of mechanical scrubbing in magnetite-concentrate reverse-flotation, Minerals Engineering, 69, 133-136.