1996 Volume 29 Issue 1 Pages 126-133
It is well known that the selectivity of rare earth metals by solvent extraction is increased by the addition of a chelating agent such as diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) in the aqueous phase. One of the disadvantages of this method is the decrease in extraction rates due to complexation in the aqueous phase. In this paper, further addition of organic acids to the aqueous phase was examined for the purpose of enhancing the extraction rates in solvent extraction with DTPA. The addition of several kind of organic acids such as formic acid, acetic acid, malonic acid, lactic acid and citric acid was investigated for a Er/Y separation system. A remarkable enhancement in extraction rates was observed with a slight decrease in the selectivity by the addition of citric acid or lactic acid. Extraction rates in the presence of both DTPA and citric acid increased with the increase in citric acid concentration and with the increase in proton concentration. A 150 times enhancement in extraction rates was found in the low proton concentration condition. In order to analyze the extraction rates and selectivities obtained, mass transfer equations were presented by considering both the dissociation reaction of rare earth metal-DTPA complexes and the complex formation between rare earth metal and organic acid in the aqueous phase. The experimental data were analyzed by these equations.