Electrowinning of zirconium from zirconium tetrachloride
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The Bureau of Mines has produced ductile zirconium dendrites at 800°C in an electrolyte containing NaCl-NaF-ZrCl4. Sublimed zirconium tetrachloride was fed into NaCl containing a slight excess of NaF above that required to complex 2 pct Zr as Na2ZrF6. The chlorine gas generated at the graphite anode during electrolysis was confined in and vented out of the cell through a high-density graphite tube into a scrubbing solution of NaOH. At a cathode current density of 300 amp per sq ft, the zirconium metal produced was 95 pct +200 mesh size. The average anode and cathode current efficiencies were 86 and 96 pct. The metal product in the form of arc-melted buttons has a hardness ranging from 130 to 170 Bhn and can be cold-rolled into 15-mil thick strips without intermediate annealing.
KeywordsZirconium Metallurgical Transaction Cathode Current Density Graphite Tube Graphite Anode
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