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Wencai Zhang

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • 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

Research group | Google Scholar



  • MINE 3534: Mineral Processing
  • MINE 4504: Materials Handling and Power Systems

Selected publications

  • 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).
  • Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2019). Enhanced leachability of rare earth elements from calcined products of bituminous coals. Minerals Engineering (Accepted, in publication).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Zhang W., Honaker R.Q., (2017). Surface charges of monazite in aqueous systems, Powder Technology, 318, 263-271.
  • 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.