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Scandium extraction using leaching-ion exchange process and the study of selective elution

Grant number: 20/01083-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 05, 2021
Effective date (End): July 04, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal researcher:Jorge Alberto Soares Tenório
Grantee:Amilton Barbosa Botelho Junior
Supervisor abroad: James William Vaughan
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Queensland, Brisbane (UQ), Australia  
Associated to the scholarship:18/03483-6 - Kinect and thermodynamic studies for scandium recovery from Brazilian red mud using hydrometallurgical techniques, BP.DR


Scandium is considered as a critical metal due to its economic importance for technological and socioeconomic development and supply risk due to the a few exploitable reserves. This element is used in aerospace technologies and sustainable energy generation. Among all rare earth elements, scandium is the most valuable. Many studies have been evaluating the scandium recovery from bauxite residue and nickel laterite; however, none of them are still economically viable. For this reason, resources for its supply must be studied. By all of existing routes, hydrometallurgical is the most attractive. The goal of this project is the study of scandium extraction from ore. The project is divided in three steps. First, a characterization of the mineral sample will be carried out using physical and chemical techniques. Afterward, according to the results obtained, the mechanical separation will be considered to concentrate scandium. Then, the extraction in aqueous media will be considered, being the first part, the leaching process using sulfuric acid and/or phosphoric acid. In the last part will be the selective separation by ion exchange technique. The elution process will be carried out in order to remove scandium from the resin using fluoride solutions and further precipitation. Experiments using sulfuric acid will be carried out to compare both solutions. The process is not explored in the literature and has a potential both economic and scientific. Analyses will be carried out in XRD, SEM/EDS, XRF and ICP. Thermodynamic calculations will be carried out using FactSage and HSC software. (AU)

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