The increasing use of zirconium in alloys and in the ceramics industry has created renewed interest in methods for its determination. It is a common constituent of many minerals, but is usually present in very small amounts. Published methods tend to be tedious, time-consuming, and uncertain as to accuracy. A new fluorometric procedure, which overcomes these objections to a large extent, is based on the blue fluorescence given by zirconium and flavonol in sulfuric acid solution. Hafnium is the only element that interferes. The sample is fused with borax glass and sodium carbonate and extracted with water. The residue is dissolved in sulfuric acid, made alkaline with sodium hydroxide to separate aluminum, and filtered. The precipitate is dissolved in sulfuric acid and electrolysed in a Melaven cell to remove iron. Flavonol is then added and the fluorescence intensity is measured with a photo-fluorometer. Analysis of seven standard mineral samples shows excellent results. The method is especially useful for minerals containing less than 0.25% zirconium oxide.
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Fluorometric determination of zirconium in minerals