A rapid, simple, and moderately accurate method was needed for the determination of traces of niobium in rocks. The method developed is based on the reaction of niobium(V) with thiocyanate ion in a 4M hydrochloric acid and 0.5M tartaric acid medium, after which the complex is extracted with ethyl ether. The proposed procedure is applicable to rocks containing from 50 to 2000 p.p.m. of niobium, and, with modifications, can be used on rocks containing larger amounts. Five determinations on two rocks containing 100 p.p.m. or less of niobium agree within 5 p.p.m. of the mean, and the confidence limits at the 95% level are, respectively, ??6 and ??4 p.p.m. The addition of acetone to the ether extract of the niobium thiocyanate inhibits the polymerization of the thiocyanate ion and stabilizes the solution for at least 20 hours. The proposed procedure permits the determination of 20 ?? of niobium in the presence of 1000 ?? of iron, titanium, or uranium; 500 ?? of vanadium; or 100 ?? of tungsten or molybdenum or both.
Additional publication details
Field determination of microgram quantities of niobium in rocks