Extraction-separation of Eu(III) and Th(IV) ions from nitrate media into a room-temperature ionic liquid


Application of a room-temperature ionic liquid (RTIL), 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate ([C4mim+][PF6 ]), in the extraction of Eu(III) and Th(IV) ions from nitrate media using tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO) as extractant is investigated. The results are compared with those obtained in dichloromethane. It is shown that the europium ions are extracted via a solvation mechanism by formation of [Eu(TOPO) 3+3 ](NO3 )3 species in both [C4mim+][PF6 ] and dichloromethane. Nevertheless, application of the studied RTIL makes a significant improvement in the extraction efficiency of europium ions. A different attitude was observed for the extraction of thorium ions. In fact, although the analysis of the extraction data of these ions from sodium nitrate solutions confirms the formation of [Th(TOPO) 4+3 ](NO3 )4 species in dichloromethane, the extraction of these ions into the ionic liquid was not affected by the presence of TOPO. This latter outcome states the process takes place by a cation-exchange mechanism. It is found that the extraction of thorium ions diminishes in the presence of nitric acid. Interestingly, in contrast to the results observed in the extraction of thorium ions from sodium nitrate solutions, TOPO shows a co-operative effect on the extraction of these ions from nitric acid media. This allows considering the mechanism of the extraction of Th4+ ions from nitric acid media as a mixed ion exchange-solvation mechanisms by formation of [Th(TOPO)4+](NO3 )(PF6 )3 species.

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Shiri-Yekta, Z., Yaftian, M.R. & Nilchi, A. Extraction-separation of Eu(III) and Th(IV) ions from nitrate media into a room-temperature ionic liquid. J IRAN CHEM SOC 10, 221–227 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13738-012-0144-x

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  • Ionic liquid
  • Extraction
  • Separation
  • Europium(III)
  • Thorium(IV)
  • TOPO