Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research vol:54 issue:6 pages:1887-1898
The ionic liquid betainium is(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [Hbet][Tf2N] was used for the extraction of scandium from aqueous solutions. The influence of several extraction parameters on the extraction efficiency was investigated, including the initial metal concentration, phase ratio, and pH. The extraction kinetics was examined, and a comparison was made between conventional liquid−liquid extraction and homogeneous liquid−liquid extraction (HLLE). The stoichiometry of the extracted scandium complex was determined with slope analysis. Scandium(III) is extracted as a complex with zwitterionic betaine in a 1:3 stoichiometry, with three bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide counterions. Upon extraction of scandium(III), proton exchange occurs and three protons are transferred to the aqueous phase. Scandium is an important minor element present in bauxite residue (red mud), the waste product that results from the industrial production of alumina by the Bayer process. To evaluate the suitability of [Hbet][Tf2N] for the selective recovery of scandium(III) from red mud leachates, the extraction of other metals present in the leachates (La(III), Ce(III), Nd(III), Dy(III), Y(III), Fe(III), Al(III), Ti(IV), Ca(II), Na(I)) was considered. It was shown that the trivalent lanthanide ions, yttrium(III) and the major elements aluminum(III), titanium(IV), calcium(II), and sodium(I), are all poorly extracted, which is advantageous for the selective recovery of scandium(III) from red mud. Iron(III) showed an extraction behavior similar to that of scandium(III). Scandium recovery was examined from a multielement rare-earth solution. Scandium could be separated from the other rare-earth elements by extraction with [Hbet][Tf2N] and subsequent scrubbing of the loaded ionic liquid phase to remove coextracted metal ions. The extracted scandium was recovered from the ionic liquid phase by using back-extraction with hydrochloric acid or precipitation stripping with oxalic acid.