Liquid–liquid extraction of europium(iii) and other trivalent rare-earth ions using a non-fluorinated functionalized ionic liquid
A new non-fluorinated malonamide-based ionic liquid extractant was synthesized and investigated for the extraction behavior of europium(III) and other trivalent rare-earth ions from nitric acid medium. The extractant was the functionalized ionic liquid trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium N,N,N′,N′-tetra(2-ethylhexyl)malonate, [P66614][MA], and it was used in combination with the non-fluorinated ionic liquid trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium nitrate, [P66614][NO3], as diluents. The extraction behavior of europium in this ionic liquid solution was studied as a function of various parameters such as the pH, concentration of the extractant, the type of acidic medium, temperature, concentration of the salting-out agent and the metal concentration of the aqueous feed. The extraction behavior of [P66614][MA] in [P66614][NO3] was compared with that of [P66614][MA] in the chloride-containing ionic liquid diluent trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium chloride, [P66614][Cl] (Cyphos IL 101). The nitrate system was found to be superior. Marked differences in extraction behavior were observed between [P66614][MA] and the molecular malonamide extractant N,N,N′,N′-tetra(2-ethylhexyl)malonamide (TEHMA), i.e. the compound from which the anion of the ionic liquid extractant was prepared. The extraction behavior of other rare earths (La, Ce, Nd, Sm, Ho, Yb) and some transition metals (Ni, Co, Zn) was investigated using this functionalized ionic liquid. A good separation of the rare earths from the transition metals could be achieved. For the rare earths, the extraction efficiency increases over the lanthanide series. The effects of thermodynamic parameters, the stripping of europium(III) from the ionic liquid and the reusability of the functionalized ionic liquid were studied in detail.