In this study, for the first time the organic gas steam-liquid extraction (OGS-LE) method is used as a simple, efficient and scalable to industrial application technique for the extraction and separation of uranium (VI) from aqueous samples. OGS-LE is done by a special handmade extraction cell. In this method, the organic solvent vapor produced in the evaporator unit is introduced into the aqueous sample by using nitrogen as a carrier gas. By inserting the vapor bubbles of the organic solvent into the aqueous sample, the organic solvent dissolves in water and the organic solvent concentration in water reaches supersaturation. During this process, equilibrium occurs between the dissolved organic solvent and the insoluble organic solvent, and it is collected on top of the aqueous phase. Uranium has been extracted with cyanex 272 and tetrabutylammonium bromide (TBAB) as extractant into n-heptane from the alkaline aqueous media by the OGS-LE method. Cyanex 272 and TBAB were used as the complexing ligand and the ion pairing reagent, respectively. The mechanism of extraction was proposed depending on the deprotonating of cyanex 272 and ionic interaction with the quaternary ammonium bases. Face Central Composite Design (FCCD) was used to evaluate the effect of various factors. Under the optimized conditions, uranium extraction could be completed in a single stage with the extraction efficiency of more than 90% from an aqueous solution containing alkali, alkaline Earth and transition metal ions. The precision, obtained by performing five replicates under the optimized conditions, was 90.12% ± 0.75% (percentage of extraction ± RSD).
The authors would like to express their deep gratitude to nuclear fuel cycle research school for support of research work.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.
Research funding: None declared.
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.
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