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Invited Review
Mitigation of greenhouse gases released from mining activities: A review
Li-yuan Liu, Hong-guang Ji, Xiang-feng Lü, Tao Wang, Sheng Zhi, Feng Pei, and  Dao-lu Quan
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 513-521. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2155-4
Abstract:
Climate changes that occur as a result of global warming caused by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released into the atmosphere are an alarming issue. Controlling greenhouse gas emissions is critically important for the current and future status of mining activities. The mining industry is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases. In essence, anthropogenic greenhouse gases are emitted directly during the actual mining and indirectly released by the energy-intensive activities associated with mining equipment, ore transport, and the processing industry. Therefore, we reviewed both direct and indirect GHG emissions to analyze how mining contributes to climate change. In addition, we showed how climate change impacts mineral production. This assessment was performed using a GHG inventory model for the gases released from mines undergoing different product life cycles. We also elucidate the key issues and various research outcomes to demonstrate how the mining industry and policymakers can mitigate GHG emission from the mining sector. The review concludes with an overview of GHG release reduction and mitigation strategies.
Invited Review
Progress in developing self-consolidating concrete (SCC) constituting recycled concrete aggregates: A review
Yu-Xuan Liu, Tung-Chai Ling, and  Kim-Hung Mo
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 522-537. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2060-x
Abstract:
Recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) derived from demolition waste has been widely explored for use in civil engineering applications. One of the promising strategies globally is to incorporate RCA into concrete products. However, the use of RCA in high-performance concrete, such as self-consolidating concrete (SCC), has only been studied in the past decade. This paper summarizes recent publications on the use of coarse and/or fine RCA in SCC. As expected, the high-water absorption and porous structure of RCA have posed challenges in producing a high-fluidity mixture. According to an analysis of published data, a lower strength reduction (within 23% regardless of coarse RCA content) is observed in SCC compared with vibrated concrete, possibly due to the higher paste content in the SCC matrix, which enhances the weak surface layer of RCA and interfacial transition zone. Similarly, SCC tends to become less durable with RCA substitution although the deterioration can be minimized by using treated RCA through removing or strengthening the adhered mortar. To date, the information reported on the role of RCA in the long-term performance of SCC is still limited; thus, a wide range of research is needed to demonstrate the feasibility of RCA–SCC in field applications.
Invited Review
Research progress of the electrochemical impedance technique applied to the high-capacity lithium-ion battery
Li-fan Wang, Meng-meng Geng, Xia-nan Ding, Chen Fang, Yu Zhang, Shan-shan Shi, Yong Zheng, Kai Yang, Chun Zhan, and  Xin-dong Wang
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 538-552. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2218-6
Abstract:
The world’s energy system is changing dramatically. Li-ion battery, as a powerful and highly effective energy storage technique, is crucial to the new energy revolution for its continuously expanding application in electric vehicles and grids. Over the entire lifetime of these power batteries, it is essential to monitor their state of health not only for the predicted mileage and safety management of the running electric vehicles, but also for an “end-of-life” evaluation for their repurpose. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) has been widely used to diagnose the health state of batteries quickly and nondestructively. In this review, we have outlined the working principles of several electrochemical impedance techniques and further evaluated their application prospects to achieve the goal of nondestructive testing of battery health. EIS can scientifically and reasonably perform real-time monitoring and evaluation of electric vehicle power batteries in the future and play an important role in vehicle safety and battery gradient utilization.
Invited Review
Effects of heat treatment on the microstructure and mechanical properties of Ni3Al-based superalloys: A review
Yu-ting Wu, Chong Li, Ye-fan Li, Jing Wu, Xing-chuan Xia, and  Yong-chang Liu
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 553-566. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2177-y
Abstract:
Ni3Al-based alloys have drawn much attention as candidates for high-temperature structural materials due to their excellent comprehensive properties. The microstructure and corresponding mechanical properties of Ni3Al-based alloys are known to be susceptible to heat treatment. Thus, a significant step is to employ various heat treatments to derive the desirable mechanical properties of the alloys. This paper briefly summarizes the recent advances in the microstructure evolution that occurs during the heat treatment of Ni3Al-based alloys. Aside from γ′ phase and γ phase, the precipitations of β phase, α-Cr precipitates, and carbides are also found in Ni3Al-based alloys with the addition of various alloying elements. The evolution in morphology, size, and volume fraction of various types of secondary phases during heat treatment are reviewed, involving γ′ phase, β phase, α-Cr precipitate, and carbides. The kinetics of the growth of precipitates are also analyzed. Furthermore, the influences of heat treatment on the mechanical properties of Ni3Al-based alloys are discussed.
Invited Review
Review on cyclic plasticity of magnesium alloys: Experiments and constitutive models
Guo-zheng Kang and  Hang Li
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 567-589. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2216-8
Abstract:
Fatigue analysis has always been a concern in the design and assessment of Mg alloy structure components subjected to cyclic loading, and research on the cyclic plasticity is fundamental to investigate the corresponding fatigue failure. Thus, this work reviews the progress in the cyclic plasticity of Mg alloys. First, the existing macroscopic and microscopic experimental results of Mg alloys are summarized. Then, corresponding macroscopic phenomenological constitutive models and crystal plasticity-based models are reviewed. Finally, some conclusions and recommended topics on the cyclic plasticity of Mg alloys are provided to boost the further development and application of Mg alloys.
Research Article
Effect of curing time on the mesoscopic parameters of cemented paste backfill simulated using the particle flow code technique
Lang Liu, Jie Xin, Chao Huan, Yu-jiao Zhao, Xiang Fan, Li-jie Guo, and  KI-IL Song
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 590-602. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2007-2
Abstract:
Several special mechanical properties, such as dilatancy and compressibility, of cemented paste backfill (CPB) are controlled by its internal microstructure and evolution. The mesoscopic structure changes of CPB during the development process were investigated. On the basis of the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and mechanical test results of CPB, the particle size information of CPB was extracted, and a two-dimensional particle flow code (PFC) model of CPB was established to analyze the evolution rule of mesoscopic parameters during CPB development. The embedded FISH language in PFC was used to develop a program for establishing a PFC model on the basis of the SEM results. The mesoscopic parameters of CPB samples at different curing times, such as coordination number (Cn), contact force chain, and rose diagram, were obtained by recording and loading and used to analyze the intrinsic relationship between mesoscopic parameter variations and macroscopic mechanical response during CPB development. It is of considerable significance to establish the physical model of CPB using the PFC to reveal the mesoscopic structure of CPB.
Research Article
Efficient metallization of magnetite concentrate by reduction with agave bagasse as a source of reducing agents
Diana Cholico-González, Noemí Ortiz Lara, Mario Alberto Sánchez Miranda, Ricardo Morales Estrella, Ramiro Escudero García, and  Carlos A. León Patiño
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 603-611. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2079-z
Abstract:
The reduction behavior and metallization degree of magnetite concentrate with agave bagasse were investigated in an inert atmosphere. The effects of temperature, biomass content, and residence time on reduction experiments and metallization degree were investigated by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Compared with other types of biomass, agave bagasse had lower contents of nitrogen, sulfur, and ash. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the metallization degree improved with increasing temperature and biomass content. Complete metallization was achieved at 1100°C for 30 min with 65:35 and 50:50 ratios of the magnetite concentrate to the agave bagasse. These results demonstrate that agave bagasse promotes the efficient metallization of magnetite concentrate without the external addition of a reducing agent. Therefore, this biomass is a technical suitable alternative to replace fossil fuels in steelmaking.
Research Article
Evolution of ferronickel particles during the reduction of low-grade saprolitic laterite nickel ore by coal in the temperature range of 900–1250°C with the addition of CaO–CaF2–H3BO3
Zulfiadi Zulhan and  Windu Shalat
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 612-620. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2025-0
Abstract:
The method of producing ferronickel at low temperature (1250–1400°C) has been applied since the 1950s at Nippon Yakin Kogyo, Oheyama Works, Japan. Limestone was used as an additive to adjust the slag composition for lowering the slag melting point. The ferronickel product was recovered by means of a magnetic separator from semi-molten slag and metal after water quenching. To increase the efficiency of magnetic separation, a large particle size of ferronickel is desired. Therefore, in this study, the influences of CaO, CaF2, and H3BO3 additives on the evolution of ferronickel particle at ≤1250°C were investigated. The experiments were conducted at 900–1250°C with the addition of CaO, CaF2, and H3BO3. The reduction processes were carried out in a horizontal tube furnace for 2 h under argon atmosphere. At 1250°C, with the CaO addition of 10wt% of the ore weight, ferronickel particles with size of 20 μm were obtained. The ferronickel particle size increased to 165 μm by adding 10wt% CaO and 10wt% CaF2. The addition of boric acid further increased the ferronickel particle size to 376 μm, as shown by the experiments with the addition of 10wt% CaO, 10wt% CaF2, and 10wt% H3BO3.
Research Article
Softening–melting behavior of mixed burden based on low-magnesium sinter and fluxed pellets
Gui-lin Wang, Jian Kang, Jian-liang Zhang, Yao-zu Wang, Zhi-yu Wang, Zheng-jian Liu, and  Chen-yang Xu
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 621-628. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2047-7
Abstract:
A low MgO content in sinter is conducive to reduce the MgO content in blast furnace slag. This study investigated the effect of MgO content in sinter on the softening–melting behavior of the mixed burden based on fluxed pellets. When the MgO content increased from 1.31wt% to 1.55wt%, the melting temperature of sinter increased to 1521°C. Such an increase was due to the formation of the high-melting-point slag phase. The reduction degradation index of sinter with 1.31wt% MgO content was better than that of others. The initial softening temperature of the mixed burden increased from 1104 to 1126°C as MgO content in sinter increased from 1.31wt% to 1.55wt%, and the melting temperature decreased from 1494 to 1460°C. The permeability index (S-value) of mixed burden decreased to 594.46 kPa·°C under a high MgO content with 1.55wt%, indicating that the permeability was improved. The slag phase composition of burden was mainly akermarite (Ca2MgSiO7) when the MgO content in sinter was 1.55wt%. The melting point of akermarite is 1450°C, which is lower than other phases.
Research Article
Effects of SiO2 on the preparation and metallurgical properties of acid oxidized pellets
Jian-guang Lu, Chen-chen Lan, Qing Lyu, Shu-hui Zhang, and  Jian-ning Sun
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 629-636. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2236-4
Abstract:
The effects of SiO2 content on the preparation process and metallurgical properties of acid oxidized pellets, including compressive strength, reduction, and softening–melting behaviors, were systematically investigated. Mineralogical structures, elemental distribution, and pore size distribution were varied to analyze the mechanism of the effects. The results show that with an increase in SiO2 content from 3.51wt% to 7.18wt%, compressive strength decreases from 3150 N/pellet to 2100 N/pellet and reducibility decreases from 76.5% to 71.4%. The microstructure showed that pellets with high SiO2 content contained more magnetite in the mineralogical structures. Additionally, some liquid phases appeared, which hindered the continuous crystallization of hematite. Also, the softening–melting properties of the pellets clearly deteriorated as the SiO2 content increased. With increasing SiO2 content, the temperature range of the softening–melting zone decreased, and the maximum differential pressure and the comprehensive permeability index increased significantly. When acid oxidized pellets are used as the raw materials for blast furnace smelting, it should be combined with high basicity sinters to improve the softening–melting behaviors of the comprehensive charge.
Research Article
Electrochemical derusting in molten Na2CO3–K2CO3
Dong-yang Zhang, Xue Ma, Hong-wei Xie, Xiang Chen, Jia-kang Qu, Qiu-shi Song, and  Hua-yi Yin
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 637-643. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2068-2
Abstract:
The formation of a rust layer on iron and steels surfaces accelerates their degradation and eventually causes material failure. In addition to fabricating a protective layer or using a sacrificial anode, repairing or removing the rust layer is another way to reduce the corrosion rate and extend the lifespans of iron and steels. Herein, an electrochemical healing approach was employed to repair the rust layer in molten Na2CO3−K2CO3. The rusty layers on iron rods and screws were electrochemically converted to iron in only several minutes and a metallic luster appeared. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analyses showed that the structures of the rust layer after healing were slightly porous and the oxygen content reached a very low level. Thus, high-temperature molten-salt electrolysis may be an effective way to metalize iron rust of various shapes and structures in a short time, and could be used in the repair of cultural relics and even preparing a three-dimensional porous structures for other applications.
Research Article
Effect of in-situ nanoparticles on the mechanical properties and hydrogen embrittlement of high-strength steel
Rong-jian Shi, Zi-dong Wang, Li-jie Qiao, and  Xiao-lu Pang
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 644-656. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2157-2
Abstract:
We investigated the critical influence of in-situ nanoparticles on the mechanical properties and hydrogen embrittlement (HE) of high-strength steel. The results reveal that the mechanical strength and elongation of quenched and tempered steel (919 MPa yield strength, 17.11% elongation) are greater than those of hot-rolled steel (690 MPa yield strength, 16.81% elongation) due to the strengthening effect of in-situ Ti3O5–Nb(C,N) nanoparticles. In addition, the HE susceptibility is substantially mitigated to 55.52%, approximately 30% lower than that of steels without in-situ nanoparticles (84.04%), which we attribute to the heterogeneous nucleation of the Ti3O5 nanoparticles increasing the density of the carbides. Compared with hard TiN inclusions, the spherical and soft Al2O3–MnS core–shell inclusions that nucleate on in-situ Al2O3 particles could also suppress HE. In-situ nanoparticles generated by the regional trace-element supply have strong potential for the development of high-strength and hydrogen-resistant steels.
Research Article
Comprehensive analysis of pulsed plasma nitriding preconditions on the fatigue behavior of AISI 304 austenitic stainless steel
Okan Unal, Erfan Maleki, and  Remzi Varol
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 657-664. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2097-x
Abstract:
This study aims to draw an exact boundary for microstructural and mechanical behaviors in terms of pulsed plasma nitriding conditions. The pulsed plasma nitriding treatment was applied to AISI 304 austenitic stainless steel at different temperatures and durations. Results reveal that nitriding depth increased as process temperature and duration increase. The nitriding depth remarkably increased at 475°C for 8 h and at 550°C for 4 h. An austenite structure was transformed into a metastable nitrogen-oversaturated body-centered tetragonal expanded austenite (S-phase) during low-temperature plasma nitriding. The S-phase was converted to CrN precipitation at 475°C for 8 h and at 550°C for 4 h. Surface hardness and fatigue limit increased through plasma nitriding regardless of process conditions. The best surface hardness and fatigue limit were obtained at 550°C for 4 h because of the occurrence of CrN precipitation.
Research Article
Effect of Cr/Mn segregation on pearlite–martensite banded structure of high carbon bearing steel
Yun-long Wang, Yin-li Chen, and  Wei Yu
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 665-675. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2035-y
Abstract:
The effect of Cr/Mn segregation on the abnormal banded structure of high carbon bearing steel was studied by reheating and hot rolling. With the use of an optical microscope, scanning electron microscope, transmission electron microscope, and electron probe microanalyzer, the segregation characteristics of alloying elements in cast billet and their relationship with hot-rolled plate banded structure were revealed. The formation causes of an abnormal banded structure and the elimination methods were analyzed. Results indicate the serious positive segregation of C, Cr, and Mn alloy elements in the billet. Even distribution of Cr/Mn elements could not be achieved after 10 h of heat preservation at 1200°C, and the spacing of the element aggregation area increased, but the segregation index of alloy elements decreased. Obvious alloying element segregation characteristics are present in the banded structure of the hot-rolled plate. This distinct white band is composed of martensitic phases. The formation of this abnormal pearlite–martensite banded structure is due to the interaction between the undercooled austenite transformation behavior of hot-rolled metal and the segregation of its alloying elements. Under the air cooling after rolling, controlling the segregation index of alloy elements can reduce or eliminate the abnormal banded structure.
Research Article
Effect of quenching-partitioning treatment on the microstructure, mechanical and abrasive properties of high carbon steel
Jian-ping Lai, Jia-xin Yu, and  Jiong Wang
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 676-687. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2164-3
Abstract:
The present work employed the X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, electron backscattered diffraction, and electron probe microanalysis techniques to identify the microstructural evolution and mechanical and abrasive behavior of high carbon steel during quenching-partitioning treatment with an aim to enhance the toughness and wear resistance of high carbon steel. Results showed that, with the increase in partitioning temperature from 250 to 400°C, the amount of retained austenite (RA) decreased resulting from the carbide precipitation effect after longer partitioning times. Moreover, the stability of RA generally increased because of the enhanced degree of carbon enrichment in RA. Given the factors affecting the toughness of high carbon steel, the stability of RA associated with size, carbon content, and morphology plays a significant role in determining the toughness of high carbon steel. The analysis of the wear resistance of samples with different mechanical properties shows that hardness is the primary factor affecting the wear resistance of high carbon steel, and the toughness is the secondary one.
Research Article
Effect of thermomechanical cyclic quenching and tempering treatments on microstructure, mechanical and electrochemical properties of AISI 1345 steel
Muhammad Arslan Hafeez, Ameeq Farooq, Kaab Bin Tayyab, and  Muhammad Adnan Arshad
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 688-698. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2139-4
Abstract:
Thermomechanical cyclic quenching and tempering (TMCT) can strengthen steels through a grain size reduction mechanism. The effect of TMCT on microstructure, mechanical, and electrochemical properties of AISI 1345 steel was investigated. Steel samples heated to 1050°C, rolled, quenched to room temperature, and subjected to various cyclic quenching and tempering heat treatments were named TMCT-1, TMCT-2, and TMCT-3 samples, respectively. Microstructure analysis revealed that microstructures of all the treated samples contained packets and blocks of well-refined lath-shaped martensite and retained austenite phases with varying grain sizes (2.8–7.9 μm). Among all the tested samples, TMCT-3 sample offered an optimum combination of properties by showing an improvement of 40% in tensile strength and reduced 34% elongation compared with the non-treated sample. Nanoindentation results were in good agreement with mechanical tests as the TMCT-3 sample exhibited a 51% improvement in indentation hardness with almost identical reduced elastic modulus compared with the non-treated sample. The electrochemical properties were analyzed in 0.1 M NaHCO3 solution by potentiodynamic polarization and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. As a result of TMCT, the minimum corrosion rate was 0.272 mm/a, which was twenty times less than that of the non-treated sample. The impedance results showed the barrier film mechanism, which was confirmed by the polarization results as the current density decreased.
Research Article
Effect of tool plunge depth on the microstructure and fracture behavior of refill friction stir spot welded AZ91 magnesium alloy joints
Hai-feng Zhang, Li Zhou, Wen-lin Li, Gao-hui Li, Yi-tang Tang, Ning Guo, and  Ji-cai Feng
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 699-709. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2044-x
Abstract:
We used refill friction stir spot welding (RFSSW) to join 2-mm-thick AZ91D-H24 magnesium alloy sheets, and we investigated in detail the effect of tool plunge depth on the microstructure and fracture behavior of the joints. A sound joint surface can be obtained using plunge depths of 2.0 and 2.5 mm. Plunge depth was found to significantly affect the height of the hook, with greater plunge depths corresponding to more severe upward bending of the hook, which compromised the tensile-shear properties of the joints. The hardness reached a minimum at the thermo-mechanically affected zone due to the precipitation phases of this zone as it dissolved into the α-matrix during the welding process. The fracture modes of RFSSW joints can be divided into three types: shear fracture, plug fracture, and shear–plug fracture. Of these, the joint with a shear–plug fracture exhibited the best tensile-shear load of 6400 N.
Research Article
Impact of travel speed on the microstructure and mechanical properties of adjustable-gap bobbin-tool friction stir welded Al–Mg joints
Dong Wu, Wen-ya Li, Yan-jun Gao, Jun Yang, Quan Wen, Nektarios Vidakis, and  Achillefs Vairis
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 710-717. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2134-9
Abstract:
The butt welds of 4-mm thick 5A06 aluminum alloy plates were produced by adjustable-gap bobbin-tool friction stir travel with travel speeds of 200, 300, and 400 mm/min in this study. The microstructure was studied using optical microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Tensile tests and microhardness measurements were performed to identify the effect of the travel speed on the joint mechanical properties. Sound joints were obtained at 200 mm/min while voids were present at different positions of the joints as the travel speed increased. The EBSD results show that the grain size, high angle grain boundaries, and density of geometrically necessary dislocations in different regions of the joint vary depending on the recovery and recrystallization behavior. Specific attention was given to the relationship between the local microstructure and mechanical properties. Microhardness measurements show that the average hardness of the stir zone (SZ) was greater than that of the base material, which was only affected slightly by the travel speed. The tensile strength of the joint decreased with increasing travel speed and the maximal strength efficiency reached 99%.
Research Article
Tensile properties and hot tearing susceptibility of cast Al–Cu alloys containing excess Fe and Si
Khalil Ganjehfard, Reza Taghiabadi, Mohammad Talafi Noghani, and  Mohammad Hossein Ghoncheh
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 718-728. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2039-7
Abstract:
This study was undertaken to investigate the tensile properties and hot tearing susceptibility of cast Al–Cu alloys containing excess Fe (up to 1.5wt%) and Si (up to 2.5wt%). According to the results, the optimum tensile properties and hot tearing resistance were achieved at Fe/Si mass ratio of 1, where the α-Fe phase was the dominant Fe compound. Increasing the Fe/Si mass ratio above unity increased the amounts of detrimental β-CuFe platelets in the microstructure, deteriorating the tensile properties and hot tearing resistance. Decreasing the mass ratio below unity increased the size and fraction of Si needles and micropores in the microstructure, also impairing the tensile properties and hot tearing resistance. The investigation of hot-torn surfaces revealed that the β-CuFe platelets disrupted the tear healing phenomenon by blocking interdendritic feeding channels, while the α-Fe intermetallics improved the hot tearing resistivity due to their compact morphology and high melting point.
Research Article
Growth mechanism and photocatalytic evaluation of flower-like ZnO microstructures prepared with SDBS assistance
Hong-mei Shao, Xiao-yi Shen, Xue-tian Li, Yong Cui, Wei Zhang, Wen-di Xu, Zhong-cai Shao, and  Yu-chun Zhai
2021, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 729-737. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12613-020-2138-5
Abstract:
Flower-like ZnO microstructures were successfully produced using a hydrothermal method employing ZnSO4/(NH4)2SO4 as a raw material. The effect of the operating parameters of the hydrothermal temperature, OH/Zn2+ molar ratio, time, and amount of dispersant on the phase structure and micromorphology of the ZnO particles were investigated. The synthesis conditions of the flower-like ZnO microstructures were: hydrothermal temperature of 160°C, OH/Zn2+ molar ratio of 5:1, reaction time of 4 h, and 4 mL of dispersant. The flower-like ZnO microstructures were comprised of hexagon-shaped ZnO rods arranged in a radiatively. Degradation experiments of Rhodamine B with the flower-like ZnO microstructures demonstrated a degradation efficiency of 97.6% after 4 h of exposure to sunshine, indicating excellent photocatalytic capacity. The growth mechanism of the flower-like ZnO microstructures was presented.