Electroacoustic isoelectric point determinations of bauxite refinery residues: different neutralization techniques and minor mineral effects
Freire, TSS, Clark, MW, Comarmond, MJ, Payne, TE, Reichelt-Brushett, AJ, Thorogood, GJ 2012, 'Electroacoustic isoelectric point determinations of bauxite refinery residues: different neutralization techniques and minor mineral effects', Langmuir, vol. 28, no. 32, pp. 11802-11811.
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Bauxite refinery residue (BRR) is a highly caustic, iron hydroxide-rich byproduct from alumina production. Some chemical treatments of BRR reduce soluble alkalinity and lower residue pH (to values <10) and generate a modified BRR (MBRR). MBRR has excellent acid neutralizing (ANC) and trace-metal adsorption capacities, making it particularly useful in environmental remediation. However, soluble ANC makes standard acid–base isoelectric point (IEP) determination difficult. Consequently, the IEP of a BRR and five MBRR derivatives (sulfuric acid-, carbon dioxide-, seawater-, a hybrid neutralization, i.e, partial CO2 neutralization followed by seawater, and an activated-seawater-neutralized MBRR) were determined using electroacoustic techniques. Residues showed three significantly different groups of IEPs (p < 0.05) based around the neutralization used. Where the primary mineral assemblage is effectively unchanged, the IEPs were not significantly different from BRR (pH 6.6–6.9). However, neutralizations generating neoformational minerals (alkalinity precipitation) significantly increased the IEP to pH 8.1, whereas activation (a removal of some primary mineralogy) significantly lowered the IEP to pH 6.2. Moreover, surface charging curves show that surfaces remain in the ±30 mV surface charge instability range, which provides an explanation as to why MBRRs remove trace metals and oxyanions over a broad pH range, often simultaneously. Importantly, this work shows that minor mineral components in complex mineral systems may have a disproportionate effect on the observable bulk IEP. Furthermore, this work shows the appropriateness of electroacoustic techniques in investigating samples with significant soluble mineral components (e.g., ANC).