Low Temperature Reduction of Alumina Using Fluorine Containing Ionic Liquids

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The major objective of the project is to establish the feasibility of using specific ionic liquids capable of sustaining aluminum electrolysis near room temperature at laboratory and batch recirculation scales. It will explore new technologies for aluminum and other valuable metal extraction and process methods. The new technology will overcome many of the limitations associated with high temperatures processes such as high energy consumption and corrosion attack. Furthermore, ionic liquids are non-toxic and could be recycled after purification, thus minimizing extraction reagent losses and environmental pollutant emissions. Ionic liquids are mixture of inorganic and organic salts which are liquid at ... continued below

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Reddy, R. G. September 1, 2007.

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Description

The major objective of the project is to establish the feasibility of using specific ionic liquids capable of sustaining aluminum electrolysis near room temperature at laboratory and batch recirculation scales. It will explore new technologies for aluminum and other valuable metal extraction and process methods. The new technology will overcome many of the limitations associated with high temperatures processes such as high energy consumption and corrosion attack. Furthermore, ionic liquids are non-toxic and could be recycled after purification, thus minimizing extraction reagent losses and environmental pollutant emissions. Ionic liquids are mixture of inorganic and organic salts which are liquid at room temperature and have wide operational temperature range. During the last several years, they were emerging as novel electrolytes for extracting and refining of aluminum metals and/or alloys, which are otherwise impossible using aqueous media. The superior high temperature characteristics and high solvating capabilities of ionic liquids provide a unique solution to high temperature organic solvent problems associated with device internal pressure build-up, corrosion, and thermal stability. However their applications have not yet been fully implemented due to the insufficient understanding of the electrochemical mechanisms involved in processing of aluminum with ionic liquids. Laboratory aluminum electrodeposition in ionic liquids has been investigated in chloride and bis (trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide based ionic liquids. The electrowinning process yielded current density in the range of 200-500 A/m2, and current efficiency of about 90%. The results indicated that high purity aluminum (>99.99%) can be obtained as cathodic deposits. Cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry studies have shown that initial stages of aluminum electrodeposition in ionic liquid electrolyte at 30°C was found to be quasi-reversible, with the charge transfer coefficient (0.40). Nucleation phenomena involved in aluminum deposition on copper in AlCl3-BMIMCl electrolyte was found to be instantaneous followed by diffusion controlled three-dimensional growth of nuclei. Diffusion coefficient (Do) of the electroactive species Al2Cl7¯ ion was in the range from 6.5 to 3.9×10–7 cm2∙s–1 at a temperature of 30°C. Relatively little research efforts have been made toward the fundamental understanding and modeling of the species transport and transformation information involved in ionic liquid mixtures, which eventually could lead to quantification of electrochemical properties. Except that experimental work in this aspect usually is time consuming and expensive, certain characteristics of ionic liquids also made barriers for such analyses. Low vapor pressure and high viscosity make them not suitable for atomic absorption spectroscopic measurement. In addition, aluminum electrodeposition in ionic liquid electrolytes are considered to be governed by multi-component mass, heat and charge transport in laminar and turbulent flows that are often multi-phase due to the gas evolution at the electrodes. The kinetics of the electrochemical reactions is in general complex. Furthermore, the mass transfer boundary layer is about one order of magnitude smaller than the thermal and hydrodynamic boundary layer (Re=10,000). Other phenomena that frequently occur are side reactions and temperature or concentration driven natural convection. As a result of this complexity, quantitative knowledge of the local parameters (current densities, ion concentrations, electrical potential, temperature, etc.) is very difficult to obtain. This situation is a serious obstacle for improving the quality of products, efficiency of manufacturing and energy consumption. The gap between laboratory/batch scale processing with global process control and nanoscale deposit surface and materials specifications needs to be bridged. A breakthrough can only be realized if on each scale the occurring phenomena are understood and quantified. Multiscale numerical modeling nevertheless can help to bridge this gap. In conjunction with various scale experimental efforts, this project was aim to construct the basis for a strategy for innovation, by developing a generally applicable modeling methodology for understanding and controlling the electrochemical processes of aluminum electrodeposition in ionic liquids with the unifying characteristic that they are based on charge-driven mass transfer. The approaches developed in this project will not only be essential for the mass production of aluminum on any pilot scale or industrial level production processes, leading to the development of a new aluminum production technology, but also bring significant benefits to the society in terms of saving energy, reducing pollutants emission and recovering valuable metals.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ID/14397
  • Grant Number: FC36-02ID14397
  • DOI: 10.2172/926179 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 926179
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902408

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  • September 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 4:48 p.m.

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Reddy, R. G. Low Temperature Reduction of Alumina Using Fluorine Containing Ionic Liquids, report, September 1, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902408/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.