Zein El Abedin, S. J Solid State Electrochem (2012) 16: 775. doi:10.1007/s10008-011-1425-5
The electrochemical behaviors of pure Al, Al–6%Si, Al–3%Cu, and Al–3.7%Cu–0.9%Mg–0.8%Pb–0.6%Fe alloys were investigated in the chloroaluminate ionic liquids 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride [BMIm]Cl/AlCl3 (40/60 mol%) and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride [EMIm]Cl/AlCl3 (40/60 mol%). Electrolytic extraction of copper from Al–Cu alloys in the employed ionic liquids was explored. The alloys were anodically dissolved in the ionic liquids and then pure copper was recovered under potentiostatic conditions. Due to the large difference between the deposition potentials of Cu and Al, pure Cu can be obtained without Al contamination. Electrorefining of Al–3%Cu and Al–6%Si alloys was also investigated in [BMIm]Cl/AlCl3 (40/60 mol%) at room temperature. High purity aluminum deposits were obtained with significantly low energy consumption of about 2 kWh/kg of Al.