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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Investigation of the separation of scandium and rare earth elements from red mud by use of reversed-phase HPLC.

A chromatographic method has been developed for separation and determination of scandium (Sc) and rare earth elements (REEs) in samples from a red mud (RM)-utilization process. Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) with post-column derivatization using 4-(2-pyridylazo)-resorcinol (PAR) and UV-visible detection at 520 nm was tested using different gradient elution profiles and pH values to optimize separation and recovery, primarily for Sc but also for yttrium and the individual lanthanides, from iron present in the samples. The separation was performed in less than 20 min by use of a mobile phase gradient. The concentration of alpha-hydroxyisobutyric acid ( alpha-HIBA), as eluent, was altered from 0.06 to 0.4 mol L(-1) (pH 3.7) and 0.01 mol L(-1) sodium salt n-octane sulfonic acid (OS) was used as modifier. Very low detection limits in the nanogram range and a good resolution for Sc and REEs except for Y/Dy were achieved. Before application of the method to the red mud samples and to the corresponding bauxites, Sc and REEs were leached from red mud with 0.6 mol L(-1) HNO(3) and mostly separated, as a group, from the main elements by ion exchange/selective elution (6 mol L(-1) HNO(3)) in accordance with a pilot-plant process developed in this laboratory. After evaporation of the eluent to dryness the extracted elements were re-dissolved in the mobile phase. By use of this chromatographic method Sc, which is the most expensive of the elements investigated and occurs in economically interesting concentrations in red mud, could be separated not only from co-existing Fe but also from Y/Dy, Yb, Er, Ho, Gd, Eu, Sm, Nd, Pr, Ce and La. All the elements investigated were individually recovered. Their recoveries were found to be nearly quantitative.[1]


  1. Investigation of the separation of scandium and rare earth elements from red mud by use of reversed-phase HPLC. Tsakanika, L.V., Ochsenkühn-Petropoulou, M.T., Mendrinos, L.N. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. (2004) [Pubmed]
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