What is solvent extraction

Dear Reader

You might ask the questions of what is the liquid-liquid extraction of metals and why is it important ?

I would say that the liquid-liquid extraction of metals is the more correct term for what is normally understood as “solvent extraction”. Solvent extraction is not the extraction of a solvent from a thing, but instead it is the extraction of a substance from one solvent into another. Commonly one of the liquids is water but there is no reason why the ideas of solvent extraction should not be applied to non aqueous systems such as silver being extracted from molten lead into molten zinc or the extraction of an organic species from methanol into hexane.

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NORM

Dear Reader,

I would like to tell you about one of the reasons why we should consider the recycling of lanthanides, this is NORM. The phrase NORM might seem healthy and harmless but trust me NORM can under some conditions be anything but healthy and harmless. It means Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material.

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Oklo and the origins of the lanthanides

Dear Reader,

Some years ago I had the experience of having my workplace inspected by a UN inspector who was charged with the task of making sure that no clandestine nuclear weapons work is performed. As I work in a lab which is in a nuclear site it is perfectly possible for EU or UN inspectors to pay visits.

I found the small group of UN inspectors to be a good natured, polite and professional group of men, they even had a sense of humour. One of them cracked a joke when we first meet at the entrance of the department. Now the reason why they came was not to entertain me, neither was the visit for the benefit of their health the reason why they came to see my place of work was to make sure that we were not building atom bombs, doing research on nuclear bombs or storing/producing some types of fissile materials.

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The origin of the lanthanides

Dear Reader,

Well you might ask where do the lanthanides come from. It is important to understand that they did not appear by magic, instead they were made by a series of nuclear reactions in the stars. I can think of three main processes which can form lanthanides, these are the s process, the r process and nuclear fission.

Three different atoms

Three different atoms

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