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Purification of Alkaline Earth Metals

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The study demonstrates that alkaline earth metals can be sublimed or distilled to give metal of very high purity. The metallic impurities are the most easily separated although the other alkaline earth metals require a fractional sublimation. The interstitial elements 0, N and C can be reduced to very low levels if entrainment is prevented by subliming or distilling under a small torr pressure of an inert gas. Hydrogen transfers to the product in either distillation or sublimation and must be removed by vacuum traction from a Ta capsule. Alkaline earth metal purification by sublimation and distillation started in 1960 to supply pure Ca, Ba and Sr for phase equilibria studies and was expanded to provide high purity Ca for metallothermic preparation of very pure rare earth metals as described by Spedding et al.1 The objectives were to produce metals of the lowest possible interstitial solute concentration with a high yield and in a convenient form for handling in inert atmosphere gloveboxes. Enhance d process reliability with regard to product purity also eliminates expensive and time-consuming chemical analyses on each batch of metal.

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D.T. Peterson received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Iowa State University in 1950. He is currently a professor and senior metallurgist in the Materials Science and Engineering Department and Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Dr. Peterson is also a member of TMS.

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Peterson, D.T. Purification of Alkaline Earth Metals. JOM 39, 20–23 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03258986

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  • Metallic Impurity
  • Relative Volatility
  • Vapor Velocity
  • Phase Equilibrium Study
  • Batch Distillation