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Extraction of Aluminum and Iron from Bauxite: A Unique Closed-Loop Ore Refining Process Utilizing Oxalate Chemistry
  • Ankit Verma,
  • David Corbin,
  • Mark Shiflett
Ankit Verma
University of Kansas School of Engineering
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David Corbin
University of Kansas School of Engineering
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Mark Shiflett
University of Kansas School of Engineering
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Abstract

The Bayer process holds an exclusive status for alumina extraction, but a massive amount of caustic “red mud” waste is generated. In this work, three oxalate reagents: potassium hydrogen oxalate (KHC2O4), potassium tetraoxalate (KHC2O4·H2C2O4), and oxalic acid (H2C2O4) were investigated for the Al and Fe extraction process from NIST SRM 600 – Australian Darling range bauxite ore. More than 90% of Al and Fe was extracted into the aqueous phase in less than 2 h with 0.50 M C2O42- for all three reagents. The Fe and Al can be selectively precipitated by hydrolyzing the aqueous phase. By acidifying the Al and Fe free filtrate, 80% of the C2O42- can be precipitated as KHC2O4·H2C2O4. Greater than 90% of the aqueous acid can also be recycled using a cation exchange resin. The proposed closed-loop process is an energy-efficient, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly route for extracting Al and Fe from bauxite ore.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

22 May 2021Submitted to AIChE Journal
31 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
31 May 2021Assigned to Editor
13 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
15 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
24 Aug 20211st Revision Received
28 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
28 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
29 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Accept