Three acidic extractants (I) di(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (HDEHP), (II) 2-ethylhexyl phosphonic acid mono-2-ethylhexyl ester (HEHPEHE) and (III) naphthenic acid were employed in preparing the samples for the characterization of the coordination structure of lanthanide-extractant complexes and the physicochemical nature of aggregates formed in the organic diluent of the solvent extraction systems. Photo correlation spectroscopy (PCS) results on the aggregates formed by the partially saponified HDEHP in n-heptane showed that the hydrodynamic radius of the aggregates was comparable to the molecular dimensions of HDEHP. The addition of 2-octanol into the diluent, by which the mixed solvent was formed, increased the dimensions of the corresponding aggregates. Aggregates formed from the lanthanide ions and HDEHP in the organic phase of the extraction systems were found very unstable. In the case of naphthenic acid, PCS data showed the formation of w/o microemulsion from the saponified naphthenic acid in the mixed solvent. The extraction of lanthanides by the saponified naphthenic acid in the mixed solvent under the given experimental conditions was a process of destruction of the w/o microemulsion. A possible mechanism of the breakdown of the w/o microemulsion droplets is discussed.
Additional publication details
Investigation of aggregation in solvent extraction of lanthanides by acidic extractants (organophosphorus and naphthenic acid)