Gelatinous silica and aluminum ions retard the distillation of fluorine in the Willard and Winter distillation method. A generally applicable, simple method for the determination of fluorine in rocks containing aluminum or silicon or both as major constituents was desired. In the procedure developed, the sample is fused with a mixture of sodium carbonate and zinc oxide, leached with water, and filtered. The residue is granular and retains nearly all of the silica. The fluorine in the filtrate is distilled directly from a perchloric acid-phosphoric acid mixture. Phosphoric acid permits the quantitative distillation of fluorine in the presence of much aluminum at the usual distillation temperature and without the collection of large volumes of distillate. The fluorine is determined either by microtitration with thorium nitrate or colorimetrically with thoron. The procedure is rapid and has yielded excellent results on silicate rocks and on samples from the aluminum phosphate (leached) zone of the Florida phosphate deposits.
Additional publication details
Determination of small and large amounts of fluorine in rocks