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    A New Hydrometallurgical Process for Metal Extraction from Electric Arc Furnace Dust Using Ionic Liquids

    Teimouri, S, Potgieter, JH, Lundström, M, Billing, C and Wilson, BP (2022) A New Hydrometallurgical Process for Metal Extraction from Electric Arc Furnace Dust Using Ionic Liquids. Materials, 15 (23). p. 8648. ISSN 1996-1944

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    This research proposes a new hydrometallurgical method for Zn, In, and Ga extraction, along with Fe as a common impurity, from electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), using ionic liquids. EAFD is a metal-containing waste fraction generated in significant amounts during the process of steelmaking from scrap material in an electric arc furnace. With valuable metal recovery as the main goal, two ionic liquids, [Bmim+HSO4−] and [Bmim+Cl−], were studied in conjunction with three oxidants: Fe2(SO4)3, KMnO4, and H2O2. The results indicated that the best combination was [Bmim+HSO4−] with [Fe2(SO4)3]. An experimental series subsequently demonstrated that the combination of 30% v/v [Bmim+HSO4−], 1 g of [Fe2(SO4)3], S/L ratio = 1/20, a 240 min leaching time, and a temperature of 85 °C was optimal, resulting in maximum extractions of 92.7% Zn, 97.4% In, and 17.03% Ga. In addition, 80.2% of the impurity metal Fe was dissolved. The dissolution kinetics of these four elements over a temperature range of 55–85 °C was found to be diffusion controlled. The remaining phases present in the leached residue were low amounts of ZnO, Fe3O4, ZnFe2O4, and traces of Ca(OH)2 and MnO2, and additional sharp peaks indicative of PbSO4 and CaSO4 appeared within the XRD pattern. The intensity of the peaks related to ZnO and Fe3O4 were observed to have decreased considerably during leaching, whereas some of the refractory ZnFe2O4 phase remained. SEM-EDS analysis revealed that the initial EAFD morphology was composed of spherical-shaped fine-grained particle agglomerates, whereas the leached residue was dominated by calcium sulphate (Ca(SO4))-rich needle-shaped crystals. The results clearly demonstrate that [Bmim+HSO4−] is able to extract the target metals due to its acidic properties.

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