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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.3 Johannesburg  2011




Leachability of nitrided ilmenite in hydrochloric acid



J.J. SwanepoelI; D.S. van VuurenI; M. HeydenrychII

IMaterials Science and Manufacturing, CSIR
IIDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Pretoria




Titanium nitride in upgraded nitrided ilmenite (bulk of iron removed) can selectively be chlorinated to produce titanium tetrachloride. Except for iron, most other components present during this low temperature (ca. 200°C) chlorination reaction will not react with chlorine. It is therefore necessary to remove as much iron as possible from the nitrided ilmenite. Hydrochloric acid leaching is a possible process route to remove metallic iron from nitrided ilmenite without excessive dissolution of species like titanium nitride and calcium oxide. Calcium oxide dissolution results in unrecoverable acid consumption. The leachability of nitrided ilmenite in hydrochloric acid was evaluated by determining the dissolution of species like aluminium, calcium, titanium and magnesium in a batch leach reactor for 60 minutes at 90°C under reflux conditions. The hydrochloric acid concentration (11%, 18% and 25%), initial acid-to-iron mole ratio (2:1, 2.5:1 and 3.3:1), and solid-to-liquid mass ratio (1:8.33 to 1:2.13) were varied. The results indicate that a hydrochloric acid concentration of 25 wt% supplied in a 2:1 acid-to-iron mole ratio would produce the most favourable upgraded nitrided ilmenite product. The dissolution of iron in this solution reached 97 per cent after only 60 minutes. The total dissolution of calcium and titanium species was 0.01 and 0.11 wt% respectively. Hydrochloric acid can therefore be used as lixiviant to remove metallic iron from nitrided ilmenite.

Keywords: Titanium nitride, upgraded nitrided ilmenite, hydrochloric acid leaching, metallic iron dissolution



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