Bobicki, Erin

Erin Bobicki | BASc (UBC/UNBC), PhD (University of Alberta), P.Eng (Alberta and Ontario)
Assistant Professor

Joint-appointed with the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry

Office: WB 150A
T: 416.978.5427

Research Group: Sustainable Mineral Processing Laboratory

Job Posting: MASc Student Researcher (materials science and/or electromagetism)

The Sustainable Mineral Processing Laboratory is looking to fill a position for a master’s student to work on tools for high temperature microwave properties measurement.

Preferred start date is ASAP but there is flexibility to begin the role in fall 2018. Ideally the student will have a background in either materials science or electromagnetics. Experience building electronic devices is an asset.

Microwave processing is a technique that has the potential to increase the efficiency of mineral processing, the practice of separating valuable minerals in ore from waste rock. A critical step towards understanding how ores respond to microwaves is to measure the microwave properties (dielectric permittivity, magnetic permeability, and electrical conductivity) of the constituent minerals. Because ores are heated upon exposure to microwaves, the measurements must be conducted at temperatures ranging from ambient to greater than 1000oC. Relatively little work has been done to measure the microwave properties of minerals at high temperature.

Our lab has used the cavity perturbation method to determine the microwave properties of materials at elevated temperature. The instrument used, however, has several shortcomings and is not effective in accurately determining the microwave properties of very high loss materials. The objective of the project is to improve existing measurement tools for high temperature microwave properties measurement, or if this is not feasible, develop a new methodology.

The student will be co-supervised by Professor Hum from ECE. Ideally the student will have a background in either materials science or electromagnetics. The student could be registered in an MASc program in either MSE, ChemE or ECE. Interested students should contact Professor Bobicki by email ASAP at

Honours & Awards

Captain Thomas Farrell Greenhalgh Memorial Graduate Scholarship, 2013
NSERC Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship, 2013
Engineers Canada Manulife Financial Scholarship, 2012
Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral, 2012
Prairie Mines Environmental Engineering Scholarship, 2012

Research Areas

  • Microwave applications in metallurgy
  • Slurry rheology
  • Comminution energy reduction
  • Saline/recycle water use in minerals processing

Research Interests

Reduction of water and energy use in mineral processing; processing of low-grade ores; surface and colloid chemistry; interfacial phenomena; slurry rheology in flotation and comminution; comminution energy reduction; coarse particle flotation; microwave properties of minerals; microwave pre-treatment for improved processability; saline and recycle water use in processing; tailings re-processing; tailings and wastewater treatment; holistic strategies for increasing the sustainability of mining and mineral processing operations.

Select Publications

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z. and Zeng, H. (2012) Carbon capture and storage using alkaline industrial wastes. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. 38(2):302-320.

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z., Manchak, N., Xu, M. (2013) Effect of microwave pre-treatment on grindability of ultramafic nickel ores. Proceedings of the Conference of Metallurgists 2013, 9th UBC-McGill Symposium on Fundamentals of Mineral Processing, October 27-31, 2013. Montreal, QC. 8pp.

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z. (2014) Ligand-promoted dissolution of serpentine in ultramafic nickel ores. Minerals Engineering. 64:109-119.

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z. (2014) Effect of microwave pre-treatment on ultramafic nickel ore slurry rheology. Minerals Engineering. 61:97-104.

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z. (2014) Microwave heating of ultramafic nickel ores and mineralogical effects. Minerals Engineering. 58:22-25.

Yang, D., Xie, L., Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Zeng, H., Xu, Z. (2014) Probing anisotropic surface properties and interaction forces of chrysotile rods by atomic force microscopy and rheology. Langmuir. 30(36):10809-10817.

Bobicki, E.R., Liu, Q., Xu, Z. (2015) Mineral carbon storage in pre-treated ultramafic ores. Minerals Engineering. 70:43-54.