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Spectroscopic Study of the Behavior of Mo(VI) and W(VI) Polyanions in Sulfuric–Phosphoric Acid Mixtures

Zhang, N., He, S., Li, Y., Zhou, Q., Zeng, D., Zhao, Z., Yan, J., Zeng, J. and Hefter, G. (2021) Spectroscopic Study of the Behavior of Mo(VI) and W(VI) Polyanions in Sulfuric–Phosphoric Acid Mixtures. Inorganic Chemistry .

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The solution chemistry of Mo(VI) and W(VI) in mixtures of sulfuric and phosphoric acids is relevant to the development of practicable hydrometallurgical processes for the recovery and separation of these two elements from low-grade scheelite ores. The behavior of Mo(VI) and W(VI) in such mixtures has been studied using X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) spectroscopies, along with electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-TOF-MS). Where applicable, these techniques have produced a self-consistent picture of the similarities and differences between the chemical speciation of Mo(VI) and W(VI) as functions of solution composition, mostly at a constant phosphorous/metal (P/M; M = Mo(VI) or W(VI)) ratio of ∼1. In dilute acidic media (0.02 mol·kg–1 H+, without H2SO4), Mo(VI) exists mostly (∼60%) as P2Mo5O236– with the remaining ∼40% as β-Mo8O264–. Under the same conditions, W(VI) is largely present as NaPW11O396– (∼80%) and P2W5O236– (∼10%), with the remainder probably occurring as isopolytungstates such as W12O4212– and some tungstophosphate dimers such as P2W18O626–. At higher acid concentrations (≲5 mol·kg–1 H2SO4), polymeric Mo(VI) anions are broken down to form the oxocations MoO22+ and Mo2O52+ and their protonated forms, with the dimers becoming increasingly dominant at higher acidities (∼80% in 5 mol·kg–1 H2SO4). In stark contrast, W(VI) polyanions do not decompose at higher acidities but instead form (∼70% in 0.6 mol·kg–1 H2SO4) a Keggin ion, PW12O403–. Further acidification with H2SO4 results in the agglomeration of this Keggin ion, forming clusters of about 50 and 100 Å in diameter that ultimately produce crystalline precipitates, which could be identified in part by their X-ray diffraction patterns. Possible application of these findings to the hydrometallurgical separation of Mo and W using acidic solutions is briefly discussed, based on a limited number of batch solvent extractions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry and Physics
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Copyright: © 2021 American Chemical Society
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