Rubidium recovery using potassium cobalt hexacyanoferrate sorbent

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Desalination and Water Treatment, 2016, 57 (55), pp. 26577 - 26585
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2016 Balaban Desalination Publications. All rights reserved. Rubidium (Rb) is a highly valued and economically important metal present in large quantities in many natural and wastewaters. However, its recovery is hampered by its low concentration and extracting agents’ limited selectivity. A batch sorption study showed that a potassium cobalt hexacyanoferrate (KCoFC) sorbent had much higher sorption capacities for Rb and caesium (Cs) than for lithium (Li), sodium (Na) and calcium (Ca). Equilibrium sorption data at pH 7 and 24 ± 1°C for Rb and Cs satisfactorily fitted to the Langmuir model with sorption maxima of 96 and 61 mg/g, respectively. A fixed-bed column (12 cm height) containing a mixture of 2.2 g KCoFC and 19.8 g granular activated carbon had a breakthrough sorption capacity of 61 mg/g when a solution containing 5 mg Rb/L was passed through the column at a velocity of 2.5 m/h (0.7 L/h). When 1 and 5 mg Cs/L were added to the Rb solution, Rb sorption capacity dropped to 46 and 41 mg/g, respectively. During Rb sorption, K from the KCoFC lattice was released. Leaching the column containing sorbed Rb with 0.1 M KCl for 60 min at a velocity of 10 m/h desorbed 99% of sorbed Rb. A process for recovering Rb from sea water reverse osmosis brine is presented.
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