School of Chemical Engineering


PYROSEARCH is a research group undertaking fundamental and applied research, consulting and testwork.

The research programs are funded primarily by industrial companies. PYROSEARCH provides research services to the minerals industry worldwide in the areas of non-ferrous and ferrous metal smelting and refining, and coal utilisation. The group has an international reputation for the quality of research outcomes and innovation in research techniques.

Through the School of Chemical Engineering, PYROSEARCH offers postgraduate research opportunities at Masters, PhD and postdoctoral levels to Australian residents and non-residents.

Consulting & Testwork


The following are examples of professional consulting services offered.

Metallographic, Structure and Microanalysis

Slag, sinter, mineral, accretion, deposits etc. microstructural analysis with optical microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with Energy Dispersive Spectra (EDS) and Electron Probe X-ray Microanalysis (EPMA) with Wavelength Dispersive Detectors.

Micrographs are provided in hardcopy and electronic form. Phase or mineral compositions are reported with accuracy ~-+1 wt %.

X-ray powder diffraction analysis (XRD) can also be performed where necessary to determine/confirm crystal structures. Reports include descriptions of microstructure with respect to the possible origin of the phases and possible mechanisms of formation. Reference to appropriate phase equilibrium diagrams is given where appropriate.

Thermodynamic calculations (see below) are performed to support description of the microstructure history in special cases.

Thermodynamic calculations using computer package FactSage with public and specially developed thermodynamic databases.

Data can be provided in the tabular form as well as in graphical form of binary and pseudo-ternary diagrams.

Special forms of representation can be developed to suit customer requirements, eg to present information in an easy-to-use form. Reports describing major features and points that emerge from the calculations can be prepared.

Expert scientific opinion on legal/patent/technical issues in the field of extractive metallurgy, pyrometallurgy, chemical thermodynamics.

For initial discussions, project scoping and quotations for consulting services contact Prof Peter Hayes or Prof Euvgeni Jak.

Consulting services are provided through UniQuest, the commercial arm of the University of Queensland.


PYROSEARCH offers a wide range of high temperature test work facilities, which enable materials to be treated under controlled conditions of composition, temperature and gas atmosphere. Samples from less than one gram to kilogram size can be handled in a variety of furnaces at temperatures up to 1750°C (higher temperatures may be achieved at special request). The test work can also be combined with microstructural analysis with SEM and EPMA and with thermodynamic predictions.

  • FactSage Chemical thermodynamic computer package and databases
  • Electron Probe X-ray Microanalysis JEOL 8800 and JEOL 8200 (Centre for Microanalysis and Microscopy)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) + Energy Dispersive Analysis (EDS) (Centre for Microanalysis and Microscopy)
  • X-ray powder diffraction (XRD)
  • X-ray transmission imaging facility
  • Quantamet image analyser
  • Surface analysis (AES, SIMS, XPS) (Chemistry Department)
  • Quadrupole mass spectrometer for on line gas analysis
  • 25kW (10kHz) induction heating furnace
  • 15kW (100kHz) induction furnace for levitation of metals
  • 1400°C (SiC) electrical tube furnaces
  • 1650°C (LaCrO4) electrical tube furnaces
  • MoSi2 muffle furnaces (up to 1750°C)
  • 1kg Isasmelt smelting test rig<
  • High temperature viscometers (up to 1650°C)
  • High temperature (1200°C) thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermal analysis (DTA)
  • IRCON two-colour radiation pyrometer (900-1850°C)
  • Gas mass flow meters
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous foundry and casting facilities

PYROSEARCH laboratories are situated at the St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland (Building 43 - see map) only 5km from downtown Brisbane. It's a great place to live and work.

Professor Evgueni Jak
Phone:+ 61 7 3365 3666

Professor Peter Hayes
Phone: +61 7 3365 3551,

International Collaboration

PYROSEARCH uses the FactSage chemical thermodynamic software system and is actively involved in the development and optimisation of SLAG DATABASES. PYROSEARCH has strong collaborative with the Centre for Research in Computational Thermochemistry, University of Montreal, Canada.

PYROSEARCH (in collaboration with CRCT) has already developed FactSage databases for the SiO2-Al2O3-CaO-FeO-Fe2O3 and PbO-ZnO-FeO-Fe2O3-CaO-SiO2 systems.

PYROSEARCH is a research provider and collaborates closely with industry partners world-wide.


The University of Queensland is a leading research University in Australia. UQ has a unique collection of Research Centres and Groups that service the Minerals industry in Australia and internationally, these include:

Pyrosearch Current and Recent Sponsors and Customers

Previous Sponsors


PYROSEARCH has particular expertise in the experimental determination of phase equilibria in complex slag systems relevant to industrial practice and in the development of FactSage chemical thermodynamic databases and software.

The research strengths of the PYROSEARCH Group are in the fields of:

Pyrosearch Provides:

  • Customer focussed research outcomes.
  • Personalised service / response to individual company's needs.High quality supervision and proven track record for delivery of research outcomes.
  • Experitse in the use and development of FactSage chemical thermodynamic databases and software.
  • Novel techniques for the determination of phase equilibria and kinetics in complex metallurgical systems
Teaching & Learning

FactSage courses

The FactSage computer program is widely used in research and process development. PYROSEARCH provides training of research and plant staff on the use of the FactSage computer package. The course material is specifically selected to suit the needs of the audience.

Examples of the FactSage applications relevant to the company or organisation are prepared. A series of Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced courses are prepared in some cases on request.

Proficient FactSage use requires certain knowledge and experience in phase equilibria and thermodynamics. To address the demand in additional training necessary for the FactSage usage, PYROSEARCH prepared a series of courses for various customers reflecting the level of qualification of the personnel. These include the following:

  • Introduction to thermodynamics
  • Introduction to phase equilibria of slag systems
  • Advanced phase equilibria of particular multi-component slag system

The above courses are developed for particular group of specialists working in certain area. The level of the audience is reflected in the course material. Examples are prepared relevant to the needs of the company. In some cases the courses are prepared in a series of short few-day modules.

The theoretical courses are structured to be coherent and interlink with the FactSage training courses and are prepared as part of Postgraduate or Continuing Professional Education. They are given in a short course format (usually 2-4 days) in Australia / South Africa / Europe. Other venues can be arranged.

Course notes are provided. More detailed information on the course outlines is provided on request.