Thum cell

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Also known as the Balbach-Thum cell.

The Thum Cell is a variation of a silver cell used for electrolytic refining of silver. In which a silver anode of relatively high purity is connected as an anode and placed in a filter bag in a silver nitrate solution. This silver nitrate should have very little free nitric acid left. The cathode could be made from graphite, stainless steel, silver, or another inert material.

The main difference between the Thum Cell and Moebius Cell is the placement of the electrodes. While the Moebius has vertical electrode placement, the Thum has horizontal. With the cathode generally laying on the bottom of the cell, with the anode suspended in a bagged basket parallel to one another

Pros and cons

Some benefits of the Thum cell in comparison to the Moebius cell

  • There is less anode scrap to be remelted and recast. When the anode corrodes, new ones are simply put on top until the build up of slime in the filter bag becomes too much.
  • The bigger distance between electrodes leads to longer runs before it has to be harvested.
  • No continuous scraping of electrodes to protect against short circuits.
  • Large electrolyte volume leads to longer run times or possibility to run lower grade anodes.

Some draw backs are

  • The Thum cell needs more floor space than the Moebius cell.
  • Higher power consumption due to larger electrode distance.
  • Larger electrolyte volume, locks up more values.



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