International journal of molecular sciences

Homogeneous liquid-liquid extraction of rare earths with the betaine-betainium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ionic liquid system.

PMID 24169434


Several fundamental extraction parameters such as the kinetics and loading were studied for a new type of metal solvent extraction system with ionic liquids. The binary mixture of the ionic liquid betainium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide and water shows thermomorphic behavior with an upper critical solution temperature (UCST), which can be used to avoid the slower mass transfer due to the generally higher viscosity of ionic liquids. A less viscous homogeneous phase and mixing on a molecular scale are obtained when the mixture is heated up above 55 °C. The influence of the temperature, the heating and cooling times, were studied for the extraction of neodymium(III) with betaine. A plausible and equal extraction mechanism is proposed in bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, nitrate, and chloride media. After stripping of the metals from the ionic liquid phase, a higher recovery of the ionic liquid was obtained by salting-out of the ionic liquid fraction lost by dissolution in the aqueous phase. The change of the upper critical solution temperature by the addition of HCl or betaine was investigated. In addition, the viscosity was measured below and above the UCST as a function of the temperature.