An oil-soluble synergistic agent has been developed for the selective separation of yttrium (Y) from the other rare earth metals. The synergistic agent is a polyaminocarboxylic acid alkylderivative and has interfacial activity like that of surfactants. Separation of yttrium from heavy rare earth metals [erbium (Er) and holmium (Ho)] in the presence of the synergistic agent was carried out with 2-ethylhexyl phosphonic acid mono-2-ethylhexyl ester as a carrier using a hollow-fiber membrane extractor. The new agent shows a synergistic effect on the permeation rate of rare earth metals at the oil-water interface. By the addition of a small amount of the agent, the selectivity for yttrium from the two rare earth metals was enhanced remarkably, because the permeation rate of Y was selectively decreased compared with those of Er and Ho. The synergistic effect is discussed from the viewpoint of the stability constant for rare earth metals and the interfacial activity of the synergistic agent. The difference in interaction between the synergistic agent and rare earth ions at the oil-water interface results in an increase in the separation efficiency.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Filtration and Separation