Sadao Araki


4 Purification of Zr from Zr-Hf Resources Using Crystallization in HF-HCl Solvent Mixture

Authors: Kenichi Hirota, Jifeng Wang, Sadao Araki, Koji Endo, Hideki Yamamoto


Zirconium (Zr) has been used as a fuel cladding tube for nuclear reactors, because of the excellent corrosion resistance and the low adsorptive material for neutron. Generally speaking, the natural resource of Zr is often containing Hf that has similar properties. The content of Hf in the Zr resources is about 2~4 wt%. In the industrial use, the content of Hf in Zr resources should be lower than the 100 ppm. However, the separation of Zr and Hf is not so easy, because of similar chemical and physical properties such as melting point, boiling point and things. Solvent extraction method has been applied for the separation of Zr and Hf from Zr natural resources. This method can separate Hf with high efficiency (Hf < 100ppm), however, it needs much amount of organic solvents for solvent extraction and the cost of its disposal treatment is high. Therefore, we attached attention for the fractional crystallization. This separation method depends on the solubility difference of Zr and Hf in the solvent. In this work, hexafluorozirconate (hafnate) (K2Zr(Hf)F6) was used as model compound. Solubility of K2ZrF6 in water showed lower than that of K2HfF6. By repeating of this treatment, it is possible to purify Zr, practically. In this case, 16-18 times of recrystallization stages were needed for its high purification. The improvement of the crystallization process was carried out in this work. Water, hydrofluoric acid (HF) and hydrofluoric acid (HF) +hydrochloric acid (HCl) mixture were chosen as solvent for dissolution of Zr and Hf. In the experiment, 10g of K2ZrF6 was added to each solvent of 100mL. Each solution was heated for 1 hour at 353K. After 1h of this operation, they were cooled down till 293K, and were held for 5 hours at 273K. Concentration of Zr or Hf was measured using ICP analysis. It was found that Hf was separated from Zr-Hf mixed compound with high efficiency, when HF-HCl solution was used for solvent of crystallization. From the comparison of the particle size of each crystal by SEM, it was confirmed that the particle diameter of the crystal showed smaller size with decreasing of Hf content. This paper concerned with purification of Zr from Zr-Hf mixture using crystallization method.

Keywords: separation, Crystallization, zirconium, hafnium

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3 Preparation of hydrophobic silica membranes supported on alumina hollow fibers for pervaporation applications

Authors: Ami Okabe, Daisuke Gondo, Akira Ogawa, Yasuhisa Hasegawa, Koichi Sato, Sadao Araki, Hideki Yamamoto


Membrane separation draws attention as the energy-saving technology. Pervaporation (PV) uses hydrophobic ceramic membranes to separate organic compounds from industrial wastewaters. PV makes it possible to separate organic compounds from azeotropic mixtures and from aqueous solutions. For the PV separation of low concentrations of organics from aqueous solutions, hydrophobic ceramic membranes are expected to have high separation performance compared with that of conventional hydrophilic membranes. Membrane separation performance is evaluated based on the pervaporation separation index (PSI), which depends on both the separation factor and the permeate flux. Ingenuity is required to increase the PSI such that the permeate flux increases without reducing the separation factor or to increase the separation factor without reducing the flux. A thin separation layer without defects and pinholes is required. In addition, it is known that the flux can be increased without reducing the separation factor by reducing the diffusion resistance of the membrane support. In a previous study, we prepared hydrophobic silica membranes by a molecular templating sol−gel method using cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) to form pores suitable for permitting the passage of organic compounds through the membrane. We separated low-concentration organics from aqueous solutions by PV using these membranes. In the present study, hydrophobic silica membranes were prepared on a porous alumina hollow fiber support that is thinner than the previously used alumina support. Ethyl acetate (EA) is used in large industrial quantities, so it was selected as the organic substance to be separated. Hydrophobic silica membranes were prepared by dip-coating porous alumina supports with a -alumina interlayer into a silica sol containing CTAB and vinyltrimethoxysilane (VTMS) as the silica precursor. Membrane thickness increases with the lifting speed of the sol in the dip-coating process. Different thicknesses of the γ-alumina layer were prepared by dip-coating the support into a boehmite sol at different lifting speeds (0.5, 1, 3, and 5 mm s-1). Silica layers were subsequently formed by dip-coating using an immersion time of 60 s and lifting speed of 1 mm s-1. PV measurements of the EA (5 wt.%)/water system were carried out using VTMS hydrophobic silica membranes prepared on -alumina layers of different thicknesses. Water and EA flux showed substantially constant value despite of the change of the lifting speed to form the γ-alumina interlayer. All prepared hydrophobic silica membranes showed the higher PSI compared with the hydrophobic membranes using the previous alumina support of hollow fiber.

Keywords: Pervaporation, hydrophobic, silica, membrane separation

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2 Thermal Decomposition Behaviors of Hexafluoroethane (C2F6) Using Zeolite/Calcium Oxide Mixtures

Authors: Kazunori Takai, Weng Kaiwei, Sadao Araki, Hideki Yamamoto


HFC and PFC gases have been commonly and widely used as refrigerant of air conditioner and as etching agent of semiconductor manufacturing process, because of their higher heat of vaporization and chemical stability. On the other hand, HFCs and PFCs gases have the high global warming effect on the earth. Therefore, we have to be decomposed these gases emitted from chemical apparatus like as refrigerator. Until now, disposal of these gases were carried out by using combustion method like as Rotary kiln treatment mainly. However, this treatment needs extremely high temperature over 1000 °C. In the recent year, in order to reduce the energy consumption, a hydrolytic decomposition method using catalyst and plasma decomposition treatment have been attracted much attention as a new disposal treatment. However, the decomposition of fluorine-containing gases under the wet condition is not able to avoid the generation of hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive gas and it deteriorates catalysts in the decomposition process. Moreover, an additional process for the neutralization of hydrofluoric acid is also indispensable. In this study, the decomposition of C2F6 using zeolite and zeolite/CaO mixture as reactant was evaluated in the dry condition at 923 K. The effect of the chemical structure of zeolite on the decomposition reaction was confirmed by using H-Y, H-Beta, H-MOR and H-ZSM-5. The formation of CaF2 in zeolite/CaO mixtures after the decomposition reaction was confirmed by XRD measurements. The decomposition of C2F6 using zeolite as reactant showed the closely similar behaviors regardless the type of zeolite (MOR, Y, ZSM-5, Beta type). There was no difference of XRD patterns of each zeolite before and after reaction. On the other hand, the difference in the C2F6 decomposition for each zeolite/CaO mixtures was observed. These results suggested that the rate-determining process for the C2F6 decomposition on zeolite alone is the removal of fluorine from reactive site. In other words, the C2F6 decomposition for the zeolite/CaO improved compared with that for the zeolite alone by the removal of the fluorite from reactive site. HMOR/CaO showed 100% of the decomposition for 3.5 h and significantly improved from zeolite alone. On the other hand, Y type zeolite showed no improvement, that is, the almost same value of Y type zeolite alone. The descending order of C2F6 decomposition was MOR, ZSM-5, beta and Y type zeolite. This order is similar to the acid strength characterized by NH3-TPD. Hence, it is considered that the C-F bond cleavage is closely related to the acid strength.

Keywords: Zeolite, Decomposition, calcium oxide, hexafluoroethane

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1 Organic Permeation Properties of Hydrophobic Silica Membranes with Different Functional Groups

Authors: Sadao Araki, Daisuke Gondo, Satoshi Imasaka, Hideki Yamamoto


The separation of organic compounds from aqueous solutions is a key technology for recycling valuable organic compounds and for the treatment of wastewater. The wastewater from chemical plants often contains organic compounds such as ethyl acetate (EA), methylethyl ketone (MEK) and isopropyl alcohol (IPA). In this study, we prepared hydrophobic silica membranes by a sol-gel method. We used phenyltrimethoxysilane (PhTMS), ethyltrimethoxysilan (ETMS), Propyltrimethoxysilane (PrTMS), N-butyltrimethoxysilane (BTMS), N-Hexyltrimethoxysilane (HTMS) as silica sources to introduce each functional groups on the membrane surface. Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) was used as a molecular template to create suitable pore that enable the permeation of organic compounds. These membranes with five different functional groups were characterized by SEM, FT-IR, and permporometry. Thicknesses and pore diameters of silica layer for all membrane were about 1.0 μm and about 1 nm, respectively. In other words, functional groups had an insignificant effect on the membrane thicknesses and the formation of the pore by CTAB. We confirmed the effect of functional groups on the flux and separation factor for ethyl acetate (EA), methyl ethyl ketone, acetone and 1-butanol (1-BtOH) /water mixtures. All membranes showed a high flux for ethyl acetate compared with other compounds. In particular, the hydrophobic silica membrane prepared by using BTMS showed 0.75 kg m-2 h-1 of flux for EA. For all membranes, the fluxes of organic compounds showed the large values in the order corresponding to EA > MEK > acetone > 1-BtOH. On the other hand, carbon chain length of functional groups among ETMS, PrTMS, BTMS, PrTMS and HTMS did not have a major effect on the organic flux. Although we confirmed the relationship between organic fluxes and organic molecular diameters or fugacity of organic compounds, these factors had a low correlation with organic fluxes. It is considered that these factors affect the diffusivity. Generally, permeation through membranes is based on the diffusivity and solubility. Therefore, it is deemed that organic fluxes through these hydrophobic membranes are strongly influenced by solubility. We tried to estimate the organic fluxes by Hansen solubility parameter (HSP). HSP, which is based on the cohesion energy per molar volume and is composed of dispersion forces (δd), intermolecular dipole interactions (δp), and hydrogen-bonding interactions (δh), has recently attracted attention as a means for evaluating the resolution and aggregation behavior. Evaluation of solubility for two substances can be represented by using the Ra [(MPa)1/2] value, meaning the distance of HSPs for both of substances. A smaller Ra value means a higher solubility for each substance. On the other hand, it can be estimated that the substances with large Ra value show low solubility. We established the correlation equation, which was based on Ra, of organic flux at low concentrations of organic compounds and at 295-325 K.

Keywords: Membrane, hydrophobic, Hansen solubility parameter, functional group

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