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Electrophoretic mobility and computations of solid-aqueous solution equilibria for the bastnaesite-H2O system

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 18-23

Herrera-Urbina, R.; Pradip,; Fuerstenau, D.W.


Measurements of the electrophoretic mobility of bastnaesite in aqueous solutions of sodium nitrate reveal that the isoelectric point (iep) of this cerium fluocarbonate occurs at about pH 9.3. These results also indicate that the pH affects significantly the electrophoretic mobility of bastnaesite, which becomes more positive as the pH decreases and more negative as the pH increases from the iep. Computations of solid-solution equilibria for the bastnaesite-H2O system closed to the atmosphere as a function of pH indicate that cerium fluoride precipitates in acidic solutions, whereas cerium hydroxide precipitates in alkaline solutions. When the initial amount of bastnaesite is fixed at 0.05 wt.% (the solids concentration used for electrokinetic experiments), these computations reveal that bastnaesite is the only solid phase in the pH range from 5.75 to 8.55, it coexists with CeF3(s) between pH 5.22 and pH 5.74, and with Ce(OH)3(s) between pH 8.56 and pH 10.12. Cerium fluoride and cerium hydroxide are the only solid phase below pH 5.2 and above pH 10.2, respectively. According to these computations, the dissolution-precipitation processes that occur when bastnaesite is equilibrated in aqueous solutions at different pH values determine the solid phases present in the system. In turn, these processes must affect the electrokinetic potential at the solid-solution interface, and they must be considered for explaining electrokinetic measurements as a function of pH when bastnaesite is the original solid phase in aqueous suspensions.