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Chemical Separation of Terbium Oxide

(DIV) Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a fast, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly method to separate terbium oxide from other trivalent rare earth oxides.
(DIV) According to the recent U.S. Department of Energy report “Critical Materials Strategy”, terbium ranks amongst the five most critical rare earth elements (along with dysprosium, neodymium, europium and yttrium). Unfortunately, these heavy rare earth elements can be difficult to separate from one another because of their chemical similarity. Current separation methods contain multistage processes which often utilize hazardous reagents, resulting in high capital and operating costs to obtain these important elements. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process that readily separates terbium oxide from other rare earth oxides by taking advantage of differential dissolution rates for the REEs in dilute organic acids. The process is effective, with yield of terbium oxide in excess of 70% and purity of at least 99.5%. The process is readily applicable to recycling processes to recover terbium oxide from lamp phosphors and other applications.
(DIV) -• Effective separation of Tb4O7 from other heavy rare earth element oxides (greater than 99.5% purity) -• Environmentally friendly – water based with no hazardous chemicals -• Cost effective – readily sourced and disposed of mild acids, minimal number of stages reduces capital costs -• Fast reaction rate (DIV)
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