Development of an extractive spectrophotometric method for estimation of uranium in ore leach solutions using 2-ethylhexyl phosphonic acid-mono-2-ethylhexyl ester (PC88A) and tri-n-octyl phosphine oxide (TOPO) mixture as extractant and 2-(5-bromo-2-pyridylozo)-5-diethyl aminophenol (Br-PADAP) as chromophore.
An extractive spectrophotometric analytical method has been developed for the determination of uranium in ore leach solution. This technique is based on the selective extraction of uranium from multielement system using a synergistic mixture of 2-ethylhexyl phosphonic acid-mono-2-ethylhexyl ester (PC88A) and tri-n-octyl phosphine oxide (TOPO) in cyclohexane and color development from the organic phase aliquot using 2-(5-Bromo-2-pyridylazo)-5-diethyl aminophenol (Br-PADAP) as chromogenic reagent. The absorption maximum (λ(max)) for UO(2)(2+)-Br-PADAP complex in organic phase samples, in 64% (v/v) ethanol containing buffer solution (pH 7.8) and 1,2-cyclohexylenedinitrilotetraacetic acid (CyDTA) complexing agent, has been found to be at 576 nm (molar extinction coefficient, ɛ: 36,750 ± 240 L mol(-1)cm(-1)). Effects of various parameters like stability of complex, ethanol volume, ore matrix, interfering ions etc. on the determination of uranium have also been evaluated. Absorbance measurements as a function of time showed that colored complex is stable up to > 24h. Presence of increased amount of ethanol in colored solution suppresses the absorption of a standard UO(2)(2+)-Br-PADAP solution. Analyses of synthetic standard as well as ore leach a solution show that for 10 determination relative standard deviation (RSD) is < 2%. The accuracy of the developed method has been checked by determining uranium using standard addition method and was found to be accurate with a 98-105% recovery rate. The developed method has been applied for the analysis of a number of uranium samples generated from uranium ore leach solutions and results were compared with standard methods like inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICPAES). The determined values of uranium concentrations by these methods are within ± 2%. This method can be used to determine 2.5-250 μg mL(-1) uranium in ore leach solutions with high accuracy and precision.