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DTPA-Functionalized Silica Nano- and Microparticles for Adsorption and Chromatographic Separation of Rare Earth Elements

Ashour, Radwa M., Samouhos, Michail, Polido Legaria, Elizabeth, Svärd, Michael, Högblom, Joakim, Forsberg, Kerstin, Palmlöf, Magnus, Kessler, Vadim G., Seisenbaeva, Gulaim A., Rasmuson, Åke C.
ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering 2018 v.6 no.5 pp. 6889-6900
adsorption, chromatography, ions, ligands, microparticles, nanoparticles, nitric acid, rare earth elements, silica, temperature, wastes
Silica nanoparticles and porous microparticles have been successfully functionalized with a monolayer of DTPA-derived ligands. The ligand grafting is chemically robust and does not appreciably influence the morphology or the structure of the material. The produced particles exhibit quick kinetics and high capacity for REE adsorption. The feasibility of using the DTPA-functionalized microparticles for chromatographic separation of rare earth elements has been investigated for different sample concentrations, elution modes, eluent concentrations, eluent flow rates, and column temperatures. Good separation of the La(III), Ce(III), Pr(III), Nd(III), and Dy(III) ions was achieved using HNO₃ as eluent using a linear concentration gradient from 0 to 0.15 M over 55 min. The long-term performance of the functionalized column has been verified, with very little deterioration recorded over more than 50 experiments. The results of this study demonstrate the potential for using DTPA-functionalized silica particles in a chromatographic process for separating these valuable elements from waste sources, as an environmentally preferable alternative to standard solvent-intensive processes.