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Leaching is the process of extracting minerals from a solid by dissolving them in a liquid, either in nature or through an industrial process. In the chemical processing industry, leaching is known as extraction. Leaching has a variety of commercial applications, including separation of metal from ore using acid, and sugar from beets using hot water. Chloride can also be leached from food.

In a typical leaching operation, the solid mixture to be separated consists of particles, inert insoluble carrier A and solute B. The solvent, C, is added to the mixture to selectively dissolve B. The overflow from the stage is free of solids and consists of only solvent C and dissolved B. The underflow consists of slurry of liquid of similar composition in the liquid overflow and solid carrier A. In an ideal leaching equilibrium stage, all the solute is dissolved by the solvent; none of the carrier is dissolved. The mass ratio of the solid to liquid in the underflow is dependent on the type of equipment used and properties of the two phases.


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