Extraction and Separation of Zirconium Using 1-Octanol

  • M. J. KabanguEmail author
  • S. J. Lubbe
  • P. L. Crouse


A selective extraction and separation of zirconium by solvent extraction with 1-octanol is proposed. The process is based on the dissolution of the metal basic carbonates in hydrochloric acid in the presence of potassium fluoride, using 1-octanol as extractant. The effect of several process parameters, including hydrochloric acid and potassium fluoride concentrations, reaction time, and phase ratio between the aqueous and the organic phase was investigated. Zirconium is enriched in the organic phase. The best extraction and separation results were obtained with the basic carbonate dissolved in 10% hydrochloric acid and 1.5 M potassium fluoride. The optimum reaction time was 15 min with an organic to aqueous phase ratio of 2:1. Based on the selectivity of zirconium over hafnium in the organic phase, a McCabe-Thiele diagram was constructed. A near complete stripping of zirconium from the organic phase was achieved using a 3 M sulphuric acid solution. Additional studies are required in order to determine the reaction mechanism and the chemical speciation of the current investigation.


Zirconium Hafnium Solvent extraction 1-Octanol Potassium fluoride 


Funding Information

This study was financially supported by the University of Pretoria, the South African Research Foundation (NRF) and the DST’s Advanced Metals Initiative.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fluoro-Materials Group, Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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