Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SEPARATION OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM OTHER ELEMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/200449
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A process for separating rare earth elements (REE) from Ca, Mg and other non-REE elements comprises raising the pH of an acidic aqueous solution of REE to pH 8 to pH 11; adding nano- or micro (NoM) particles having a silica or titanium oxide surface; agitating the suspension for 6 h to 48 h to provide for adherent crystallization of REE hydroxide on the particles; separating the particles from the solution; releasing REE by treatment with aqueous acid to form an aqueous solution of REE salt; separating them from the aqueous solution of REE salt formed. The acidic aqueous solution comprising REE is preferably provided by leaching of an REE mineral with aqueous acid; adding a base to bring the pH to from pH 4.0 to pH 6.5; separating precipitated non-REE hydroxide from the solution.

Inventors:
SEISENBAEVA, Gulaim A. (Linvägen 25, Uppsala, 757 52, SE)
POLIDO LEGARIA, Elizabeth (Salixvägen 2, Uppsala, 756 42, SE)
KESSLER, Vadim (Linvägen 25, Uppsala, 757 52, SE)
Application Number:
SE2017/000025
Publication Date:
November 23, 2017
Filing Date:
May 10, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SEISENBAEVA, Gulaim A. (Linvägen 25, Uppsala, 757 52, SE)
POLIDO LEGARIA, Elizabeth (Salixvägen 2, Uppsala, 756 42, SE)
KESSLER, Vadim (Linvägen 25, Uppsala, 757 52, SE)
International Classes:
C22B59/00; B09B3/00; C01F17/00; C09K11/01; H01J9/52; H01M6/52; H01M10/54
Foreign References:
US20140023571A12014-01-23
Other References:
ELIZABETH POLIDO LEGARIA ET AL.: "Molecular insights into the selective action of a magnetically removable complexone- grafted adsorbent", DALTON TRANS., vol. 44, 2015, pages 1273 - 1282, XP055441672
R. P. POGORILYI ET AL.: "New product from old reaction: uniform magnetite nanoparticles from iron- mediated synthesis of alkali iodides and their protection from leaching in acidic media", RSC ADV., vol. 4, 2014, pages 22606 - 22612, XP055441674
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CONIMAR AB (Box 2085, Huddinge, 141 02, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C l a i m s

1. Process for separation of rare earth elements (REE) from non- REE elements such as calcium and magnesium,

c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n t h a t the process comprises the following steps:

a) Providing an acidic aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium;

b) Adding a base to bring the pH of the solution to from pH 8 to pH 11, in particular to from pH 9 to pH 10, to form REE

hydroxide;

c) Adding nano- or micro (NoM) particles selected from silica particles, titanium oxide particles and particles covered by a layer of silica to the solution to provide a particle suspension; d) Agitating the particle suspension for a time period of from 6 h to 48 h, in particular of from 12 h to 36 h, most preferred for about 24 h, to provide for adherent crystallization of REE hydroxide on the particles;

e) Separating the particles loaded with REE hydroxide from the aqueous solution;

f) Releasing REE from the particles by treatment with aqueous acid to form an aqueous solution of REE salt;

g) Separating the non-loaded particles from the aqueous solution of REE salt;

with the proviso that step c) can precede step b) .

2. The process of claim 1 carried out at ambient temperature.

3. The process of claim 1 or 2 , wherein particles covered with silica are iron (III) oxide particles.

4. The process of claim 1, wherein particles loaded with REE hydroxide are separated from the aqueous solution by filtration, decantation, centrifugation or by magnetic means.

5. The process of claim 1, wherein the base is selected from ammonia, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide.

6. The process of claim 5, wherein the base is provided in form of an aqueous solution.

7. The process of claim 1, wherein the thickness of the silica layer is 10 μιτι or more, in particular 20 μπι or more. 8. The process of claim 1, wherein non-loaded particles are separated in step g) from the aqueous solution of REE salt by filtration, decantation, centrifugation or by magnetic means.

9. The process of claim 1, wherein treatment with aqueous acid is carried out at pH 2 or lower, in particular at pH 1 or lower.

10. The process of claim 1, wherein the aqueous acid is selected from the group consisting of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid.

11. The process of claim 1, wherein the acidic aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium of step a) is provided by:

i) Leaching a mineral comprising REE with aqueous acid at pH 2 or lower, in particular at pH 1 or lower, to form an acidic solution comprising REE, magnesium, calcium, iron(III);

ii) Adding a base to bring the pH of the leaching solution to a pH of from 4.0 to 6.5;

iii) Separating precipitated iron (III) hydroxide by means of filtration, decantation or centrifugation so as to obtain said aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium of step a) .

12. The process of claim 11, wherein the base of step ii) is selected from ammonia, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide.

13. The process of claim 1 or 12, wherein REE is selected from the group consisting of lanthanum, dysprosium, neodymium. 14. The process of claim 1, wherein the No particles have a diameter of from 5 nra to 100 μιτι, in particular of from 10 nm to 50 μτη.

15. The process of claim 1, wherein pH of the aqueous solution provided in step a) is continuously monitored.

16. The process of claim 11, wherein pH of the acid solution provided in step i) is continuously monitored. 17. The process of claim 1, wherein the base is provided in form of an aqueous solution thereof.

18. The process of claim 11, wherein the base of step ii) is provided in form of an aqueous solution thereof.

Description:
SEPARATION OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM OTHER ELEMENTS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a method for separation of rare earth elements (REE) from other elements and to a means for use in the method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Important sources of REE are naturally occurring ores and industrial waste obtained by recycling of magnetic, electronic or other REE containing materials. In the sources REE are

accompanied by large amounts of other elements from which they must be separated prior to refining.

Known REE separation or enrichment methods start with treating the ore or waste with strong mineral acid to produce aqueous solutions of REE salts. In addition to REE these highly acidic solutions contain various elements in cationic form, such as Ca 2+ , Fe 3+ , Mg 2+ , but often additionally Co 2+ , Zr 4+ , Th\ U 3+ etc. The composition of the accompanying non-REE elements varies considerably from source to source. While some elements in cationic form, such as Fe 3+ , Co 2+ , Ti 4+ and Zr 4+ can be efficiently removed from the acidic solution by increasing pH to about 6.5 so as to precipitate them in form of their oxides, the separation of REE from Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ represents a considerable challenge [1] . State-of-art methods for separation of REE from elements whose hydroxides are not precipitated or are only partially

precipitated at pH 6.5 include solvent extraction using toxic chemicals and hazardous organic solvents [2] or extraction with expensive and often poisonous ionic liquids, which are difficult to recycle [3] . Separation of different REE from each other by chromatographic or other methods is conditioned by their prior separation from major non-REE contaminants [4] .

A problem with waste solutions originating from industrial processes of this kind is their low but

environmentally nevertheless burdening content of trace amounts of REE. A solution of this problem has recently been sought in the use of magnetic micro and nano particles. By suspending the particles in the waste solution they become loaded with REE and can be easily removed by magnetic means. Iron oxide particles [5] and carbon particles [6] have been employed for this purpose. The affinity of the magnetic and other micro- and nanoscale magnetic particles to REE is however low, such as less than 0.03 mmol/g or 5 mg/g of REE. To improve their REE load capacity multidentate N.O-donor ligands have been grafted on their surface by means of siloxane type reagents [7, 8] , such as, for instance, ethylene diamine triacetic acid onto the surface of graphene, Si0 2 , T1O 2 , and iron oxide particles. The capacity of the multidentate adsorbents towards REE is in the range 30-100 mg/g, making their industrial application feasible. The particles with their load of adsorbed REE are separated from the aqueous media, then suspended in a strong mineral acid to release the adsorbed REE in salt form.

There is however an economic factor conditioning the use of such particles, namely their capability to be used more than once in the process. The particles thus have to be sufficiently stable to withstand the highly acidic conditions of pH <1 required for efficient REE desorption. Detailed studies have been carried out to identify suitable materials for surface

modification possessing high affinity to REE cations, such as chitosan [9] . An alternative approach is silica coating of magnetic (usually iron oxide based) solid extractants [10] .

Application of mesoporous silica with physically adsorbed polyamino functions turned to be not attractive in view of the high cost and poor stability of the adsorbent [11] . A layer of dense silica on magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles of at least 20 nm in thickness stabilizes them sufficiently for multiple use in highly acidic media.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a method of separating REE from aqueous solutions of their salts comprising large amounts of contaminating non-REE such as Mg 2+ and Ca 2< .

Further objects of the present invention will become evident from the following short description of the invention and the description of preferred embodiments thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention is provided a process for separation of REE from aqueous media by adhering crystallisation of their hydroxides on the surface of nano- or microparticles, in the following called NoM particles. Their adherence to the particle surface enables the REE hydroxides to be removed with the particles from the aqueous media. In contrast to REE, calcium and magnesium hydroxide as well as hydroxides of other metals not removed by precipitation at pH 6.5 do not crystallise in an adhering manner on NoM particles and thus can be separated from REE loaded NoM particles. Adhering crystallization of REE on NoM particles is triggered by raising the pH of a solution comprising REE salts to a REE oxide crystallisation pH in the range from about pH 8 to about pH 11, in particular from about pH 9 to about pH 10. In particular pH is raised from about pH 6.5 to a pH in the range of from pH 8 to pH 11, in particular to a pH in the range of from pH 9 to pH 10. In principle, any base can be used for raising the pH . Preferred bases are ammonia, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and their mixtures. The base is preferably added in form of an aqueous solution. Addition of base is controlled by monitoring pH.

Industrially suitable NoM particles for adhering crystallisation of REE hydroxides include particles consisting of silica (Si0 2 ) , particles comprising a layer of silica on their surface, particles consisting of titanium oxide (Ti0 2 ) , and particles comprising a layer of titanium oxide on their surface. A layer of silica or titanium oxide on a particle that is insufficiently stable against the action of strong mineral acid, such as an Fe 3 0 4 particle, is at least 10 nm thick, preferably at least 20 nm, in particular at least 25 nm or 40 nm.

For loading with REE oxide by adherent crystallisation the NoM particles are kept suspended in the aqueous medium at an REE oxide crystallisation pH for a loading period of from 4 h to 48 h or more, preferably for a loading period of from 12 h to 36 h such as, for instance for a loading period of about 24 h. The particles are kept in suspension by stirring the aqueous media or by agitating the container holding the aqueous media.

After having been loaded with REE oxide the NoM particles are separated from the aqueous media by any suitable means, such as filtration, centrifugation, decantation of the media or, in case of magnetic NoM particles, by magnetic means.

For recovery of REE the REE oxide loaded NoM particles are suspended in an acidic aqueous media, in particular one of pH 2 or less, preferably of pH 1 or less, so as transform REE hydroxide into a water soluble REE salt. The acidic aqueous media is preferably a strong inorganic acid, such as one pertaining to the group hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, nitric acid. Upon dissolution of REE hydroxide in form of REE salt the NoM

particles are separated from the acidic aqueous media by any suitable means, such as filtration, centrifugation, decantation of the media. Magnetic NoM particles can also be separated from the acidic aqueous media by magnetic means.

The thus obtained aqueous solutions of REE salt can be further processed by means of known methods for separation of individual REE such as by chromatographic methods.

In particular, according to the present invention is disclosed a process for separation of rare earth elements (REE) from non-REE elements such as calcium and magnesium, comprising: a) Providing an acidic aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium;

b) Adding a base to bring the pH of the solution to from pH 8 to pH 11, in particular to from pH 9 to pH 10, to form REE hydroxide;

c) Adding nano- or micro (NoM) particles selected from silica particles, titanium oxide particles and particles covered by a layer of silica to the solution to provide a particle suspension;

d) Agitating the particle suspension for a time period of from 6 h to 48 h, in particular of from 12 h to 36 h, most preferred for about 24 h, to provide for adherent crystallization of REE hydroxide on the particles;

e) Separating the particles loaded with REE hydroxide from the aqueous solution;

f) Releasing REE from the particles by treatment with aqueous acid to form an aqueous solution of REE salt;

g) Separating the non- loaded particles from the aqueous solution of REE salt;

with the proviso that step c) can precede step b) .

While temperatures from about 5 °C to about 40 °C and even more are acceptable for carrying out the process, an ambient temperature such as from 10 °C to 30 °C in particular from 15 °C to 25 °C is preferred. Preferred NoM particles for use in the process are iron (III) oxide particles covered with a layer of silica. The particles loaded with REE hydroxide can be separated from the aqueous solution by any useful means, in particular by one or more of: filtration, decantation, centrifugation, magnetic means .

While any strong base dissolvable in aqueous media can be used in the process, it is preferred to use one or more of the group consisting of ammonia, sodium hydroxide, potassium

hydroxide. While the base can be provided in any useful form, such as a powder or granulate or gas, it is preferred to provide it in form of its aqueous solution.

While NoM particles for use in the invention can have a diameter of from 5 nm to 100 μη, in particular of from 10 nm to 50 μτα, the diameter of a non-silica NoM particle covered by a silica layer for use in the invention is at least 30 μτη or more, in particular at least 50 μπι or more. It is preferred for the silica layer on such particle to have a thickness of least 10 μπι thick, preferably of at least 20 μτη.

Separation of non- loaded particles from the aqueous solution of REE salt formed in the process of the invention can be carried out by any useful means such as, for instance, by filtration, decantation, centrifugation or by magnetic means. It is important to continuously monitoring pH of the aqueous solution provided in step a) during a process step in which pH is increased by addition of base.

According to another preferred aspect of the invention treatment with aqueous acid of the aqueous suspension of

particles loaded with REE hydroxide is carried aqueous acid is carried out at pH 2 or lower, in particular at pH 1 or lower. Preferred acids for this treatment pertain to the group

consisting of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid.

According to a particularly preferred aspect of the invention the acidic aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium of step a) is provided by:

i) Leaching a mineral comprising REE with aqueous acid at pH 2 or lower, in particular at pH 1 or lower, to form an acidic solution comprising REE, magnesium, calcium, iron(III);

ii) Adding a base to bring the pH of the leaching solution to a pH of from 4.0 to 6.5;

iii) Separating precipitated iron (III) hydroxide by means of filtration, decantation or centrifugation so as to obtain said aqueous solution of REE, calcium and magnesium of step a) .

It is preferred for the base added in step ii) to be selected from ammonia, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide. The base is preferably added in form of an aqueous solution thereof.

While the method of the invention is applicable to the separation of any lanthanide it is preferred it is preferred for REE to be selected from the group consisting of lanthanum, dysprosium, neodymium.

The pH of the acid solution provided in step i) should be continuously monitored during addition of base in step ii) .

The present invention will now be described in more detail by reference to a number of preferred embodiments, some of which are illustrated in a drawing comprising several figures. DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Materials and methods

Imaging and measurements were performed with a Hitachi TM-1000 tabletop Scanning Electron Microscope with an Oxford Instruments pic. Beryllium-window Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy detector. Imaging was done using a backscattering electron detector with the preset charge-up reduction mode and standard issue Hitachi software was used to control the instrument. The accelerating voltage was preset at 15kV. Not less than 5

independent measurements were made at magnifications x500, xlOOO and x5000. The data obtained in the form of wt% in heavy element (silicon and metal) content were compared and averaged. Co plexometric titration of lanthanides (Dy 3+ , Nd 3 *, La 3 *) .

Titration was carried out in mother liquor over IDA bonded silica covered Fe 3 0 4 nanoparticles . Stock solutions containing 0.0215 M Dy(N0 3 ) 3 , 0.0125 M Nd(N0 3 ) 3 and 0.022 M La(N0 3 ) 3 were prepared. To 50 mg of Fe 3 0 4 -Si0 2 NPs, a calculated amount of lanthanide salt solution (corresponding to the number of moles of IDA grafted on the surface) was added. NaN0 3 1M was added up to a final

concentration of 0.1 M in a total volume of 20 mL, which was completed with distilled water. The mixtures were then sonicated in order to disperse the nanoparticles in the solution and they stayed in static sorption conditions for different times (2, 8, 24 and 48 hours) . After the corresponding time, the mixtures were poured into centrifuge tubes, centrifuged at 10.000 rpm for 10 minutes and washed once with distilled water (20 mL) . Both the first and the washing solutions were collected in an Erlenmeyer and the solid sorbent was dried under 2 (g) at room temperature. The collected solutions were titrated with Trilon B 5 mM using xylenol orange as indicator. Trilon B complexates metals in a 1:1 ratio, therefore the amount of lanthanides adsorbed to the surface of the Fe 3 0 4 -Si0 2 NPs could be calculated by subtraction, since the initial amount is known and the remaining amount in solution is determined by titration. The titrations were repeated in triplicate for control of reproducibility.

EXAMPLE 1. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 nm Si0 2 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. Si0 2 nanoparticles of a diameter of about 80-100 nm were synthesized according to Stober [12] . In order to

maintain ionic strength the particles (50 mg) were contacted with 6.5 mL of a 0.025 M solution of Nd(N0 3 ) 3 ·6Η 2 0 (CAS No: 16454-60-7, Sigma Aldrich, ref . 289175) and 2 mL of 1M NaN0 3 (CAS No: 7631-99- 4, Sigma Aldrich, ref. 221341) . Volume was filled up to 20 mL with miliQ water and pH was adjusted to pH 9 by dropwise addition of 5 % aqueous NH 4 OH (CAS No: 1334-21-6, Sigma Aldrich, ref.

09857) . The resulting mixture was orbitally shaken for 24 h. The particles loaded with Nd(OH) 3 were separated by centrifugation and dried under nitrogen. The amount of REE remaining in the solution was determined by complexometric titration with EDTA (CAS No. 6381-92-6) . EDTA forms complexes with REE in a 1:1 ratio and therefore, by titrating the remaining amount in the solution, the uptake of REE by the particles can be determined by subtraction between the initial amount and the remaining in solution. This analysis revealed an uptake capacity of 443 mg Nd 3+ /g Si0 2 nanoparticles, corresponding to a recovery of 93 %.

EXAMPLE 2. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 nm Si0 2 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 8.0 with aqueous ammonia. Particles and procedure as in Example 1 but pH adjusted to pH 8. The loaded particles were checked by energy- dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analysis, repeating the analysis at least 5 times on different random points for all samples, revealing an uptake capacity of 332 mg Nd 3+ /g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 3. Recovery of neody ium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 n SiO∑ nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 8.0 with aqueous ammonia. Particles and procedure as in Example 1 but pH adjusted to pH 10. The loaded particles were checked by EDS (five scans), revealing an uptake capacity of 947 mg Nd 3+ /g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 4. Recovery of lanthanum, dysprosium and neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 nm functionalised SiO∑ nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. The surface of Si0 2 nanoparticles of Example 1 was functionalised with iminodiacetic acid derivate organosilane [13] . The functionalised nanoparticles (100 mg) were contacted with 12.5 mL of a 0.025 M lanthanide trinitrate hexahydrate solution comprising equimolar amounts of lanthanum, dysprosium and neodymium. Particle loading and separation was performed as in Example 1. EDS analysis (five scans) showed an average adherence of 280 mg for Nd 3+ , 400 mg for Dy 3+ and 607 mg for La 3+ per g Si0 2 nanoparticles respectively. EXAMPLE 5. Recovery of dysprosium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 nm Si0 2 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.5 with aqueous sodium hydroxide . Particles and procedure as in Example 1 except of adjustment of pH by 1 M aqueous NaOH, final pH 9.5. Nanoparticles (25 mg) were contacted with 3.1 mL of 0.02 M

Dy(N0 3 ) 3 -6H 2 0 (CAS No: 100641-13-2. Sigma Aldrich, ref . 289175). EDS analysis (five scans) showed an average adherence of 1804 mg Dy 3+ /g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 6. Recovery of dysprosium from an aqueous solution by means of 80-100 nm Si0 2 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.5 with aqueous potassium hydroxide. Particles and procedure as in

Example 5, except for adjusting pH with 1M aqueous KOH to a final value of pH 9.5. EDS analysis (five scans) showed an average Dy adherence 826 mg Dy 3+ /g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 7. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 100 nm silica covered Fe 3 0 4 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. Core-shell magnetic silica covered nanoparticles of about lOOnm in size comprising a silica layer of about 25 nm in thickness were synthesized by the Stober method. The nanoparticles (15 mg) were contacted with 1.7 mL of 0.025 M aqueous Nd (N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0 according to the procedure of Example 1. Complexometric titration showed an uptake of 861 mg Nd 3+ /g, corresponding to a recovery of 97%. EDS analysis indicated an average adherence of about 64%, i.e. 830 mg per g Si0 2 , which is in good agreement with the titration results, meaning that EDS provides reliable information about relative weight percentage and is a local surface analysis.

EXAMPLE 8. .Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 100 nm surface functional ised silica covered Fe 3 <D 4 nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. The surface of core-shell magnetic silica covered nanoparticles of Example 7 was functional! zed with the iminodiacetic acid organosilane derivate of Example 4. Nanoparticles (25 mg) were contacted with 3.2 mL of a 0.025M solution of Nd (N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0 following the procedure of Example 1. Complexometric titration showed an uptake of 446 mg Nd 3+ /g, which corresponds to a 96% of the initial amount introduced.

EXAMPLE 9. .Recovery of dysprosium from an aqueous solution by means of 100 nm surface functionalised silica covered Fe 3 (¾ nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.5 with aqueous NaOH. Core- shell magnetic silica covered nanoparticles of Example 7 were used, and the procedure of Example 5 followed. EDS analysis showed an average (five scans) adherence of 733 mg Dy 3+ per g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 10. Recovery of dysprosium from an aqueous solution by means of 100 nm surface f nctionalised silica covered Fe 3 0 4 nanopar icles; pH adjusted to pH 9.5 with aqueous KOH. The core- shell magnetic silica covered nanoparticles of Example 7 were used, and the procedure of Example 6 followed. EDS analysis showed an average (five scans) adherence of 898 mg Dy 3+ per g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 11. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 0.5-10 μ/η silica mi cropartides; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. Si0 2 particles (100 mg) of 0.5 - 10 μιη in diameter (CAS No: 14808-60-7, Sigma Aldrich, ref . S5631) were contacted with 12.5 mL of aqueous 0.025 M Nd(N0 3 ) 3 according to the procedure of Example 1. The loaded particles were checked by EDS analysis as in Example 2, revealing an average degree of adherence of about 700 mg Nd 3+ per g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 12. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 44 μm silica microparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. Si0 2 particles (44 μιη/325 mesh in size, 100 mg; CAS No.60676-86-0, Sigma Aldrich ref. 342890), were contacted with 12.5 mL of aqueous 0.025 M Nd (N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0 while following the procedure of Example 1. Analysis of the loaded particles according to the method of Example 2 revealed an average

adherence of about 1089 mg Nd 3+ per g Si0 2 .

EXAMPLE 13. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 10 run titanium oxide nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. Ti0 2 nanoparticles of 10 nm diameter were custom synthesized via a hydrothermal process [14] . The nanoparticles (40 mg) were contacted with 6.2 mL of aqueous 0.025 M Nd (N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0 solution following the procedure of Example 1. The loaded particles were analysed by EDS as in Example 2, revealing an adherence of 48 mg Nd 3+ per g Ti0 2 .

EXAMPLE 14. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 10 nm titanium oxide nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 10.0 with aqueous ammonia. Ti0 2 nanoparticles of Example 13 (100 mg) were contacted with 6.2 mL of aqueous 0.025 M Nd (N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0 and the pH adjusted to pH 10. The loaded particles were analysed by the method of Example 2, revealing an adherence 286 mg Nd 3+ per g Ti0 2 .

EXAMPLE 15. Recovery of neodymium from an aqueous solution by means of 20 nm titanium oxide nanoparticles; pH adjusted to pH 9.0 with aqueous ammonia. The procedure of Example 13 was followed. Ti0 2 nanoparticles (20 nm, 100 mg; CAS No: 13463-67-7, Sigma Aldrich, ref. 718467) were contacted with 12.5 mL of aqueous 0.025 M Nd(N0 3 ) 3 · 6H 2 0. EDS analysis of the loaded

particles showed an average adherence of 78 mg Nd 3+ per g Ti0 2 .

EXAMPLE 16. EDS analysis . The results of EDS analysis for the investigated samples are shown in Table 1.

References

1. Broekaert J.A.C., H6rmann P.K., Analyt . Chim. Acta 124 (1981) 421-425;

2. Zhu Z.W., Pranolo Y., Cheng C.Y., Minerals Eng. 77(2015) 185- 196;

3. Baba Y. ( Kubota F., Kamiya N. , Goto M., J. Chem. Eng. Japan 44 (2011) 679-685;

4. Li X.Z., Sun Y.P., J. Rare Earths 23 (2005) 581-592;

5. Yang S., Zong P., Ren X., Wang Q. , Wang X., ACS Appl . Mater.

Interfaces 4 (2012) 6891-6900;

6. Younis A.M., Kolesnikov A.V. , Desyatov A.V. , Am. J. Analyt.

Chem., 5 (2014) 1273-1284;

7. Zito Ray P., Shipley H.J., RSC Adv. 5 (2015) 29885-29907; 8. Dupont D. , Brullot W. ( Bloemen M., Verbiest T., Binnemans K. , ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 6;7 (2014) 4980-4988;

9. Haldorai Y., Rengaraj A., Ryu T. , Shin J., Huh Y.S., Han

Y.K., Mater. Sci . & Engineer. B, 195 (2015) 20-29; Pogorilyi .P., Melnyk I.V., Zub Y.L., Carlson S., Daniel G Svedlindh P., Kessler V.G., Seisenbaeva G.A., SC Adv. 4 (2014) 22606-22612;

Kavosi A., Faridbod F., Ganjali M.R., Int. J. Environ. Res. 9;1 (2015) 247-254;

Stober W., Fink A., Bonn, E. , J. Colloid Interface Sci., 26 (1968) 62-69.

Demirel S., Polido E . , Tiseanu C, Rocha J. ( Nedelec J-M., Kessler V., Seisenbaeva G. , J Nanopart Res., 16:2783 (2014) Polido Legaria E., Demirel Topel S., Kessler V.G.,

Seisenbaeva G.A. , Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 1273-1282.

Table 1. Results of EDS analysis