Recovery of boron from brines with high magnesium content by solvent extraction using aliphatic alcohol
The recovery of boron from salt lake brines has become an effective way to meet the increasing demand, particularly in China. In this study, nine commercially available monohydric alcohols with different structures were selected for boron extraction from a salt lake brine with high magnesium content. Passing through the optimization, isodecanol was finally selected for the detailed study on boron recovery from brine due to its moderate viscosity, lower solubility water entrainment and high extraction efficiency. Parameter effects on boron extraction were systematically studied, including equilibrium pH, organic concentration, phase ratio, temperature, and salting-out effect. A McCabe–Thiele diagram was established to determine the boron extraction and stripping stages. An organic solution containing 2.5 mol L−1 isodecanol was used for a simulated three-stage counter-current extraction test under optimized extraction conditions, and the boron extraction reached 99.07%. A simulated four-stage counter-current stripping test was carried out with water with the stripping efficiency of 98.71%. In total the boron recovery reached 97.79%. Additionally, the mechanism of boron extraction by isodecanol was investigated using both slope analysis method and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The stoichiometric ratio of isodecanol to boron required to form boric acid ester was found to be 1.268. These results indicate that the extraction system has great potential for commercial application in boron recovery from salt lake brines with high magnesium content.