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MonnahelaOS

MonnahelaOS

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Published by Ian Konopczyk Maluf

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Published by: Ian Konopczyk Maluf on Oct 21, 2011
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11/04/2012

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Synthesis of high purity zirconium tetrafluoride fornuclear applications
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree
Master of Science
 
in the
Department of ChemistryFaculty of Agricultural and Natural Science
at the
University of the Free StateBloemfontein
by
ODUETSE SYDNEY MONNAHELASupervisor: Prof. A. RoodtCo-Supervisors: Dr. J.B. Wagener and Dr. P.A.B. Carstens
November 2008
 
 
 
Synthesis of high purity zirconium tetrafluoride fornuclear applications
 
 
 i
ABSTRACT
 The RSA has a great abundance of the potentially valuable zircon(Zr(Hf)SiO
4
) mineral, which is mostly exported in unexploited form, leadingto huge losses in potential revenue. The purpose of this project was toattempt to purify Zr of Hf as well as 3d metals for nuclear applications.The fluoride route was used to exploit the difference in sublimationtemperatures as a selective separation method for ZrF
4
from HfF
4
, or viceversa, depending on the volatility of these species.The fluorination of ZrO
2
, HfO
2
and plasma dissociated zircon (PDZ)samples and the identification of viable conditions for separation of ZrF
4
 and HfF
4
in an anhydrous hydrogen fluoride and fluorine atmosphere wereprimarily investigated.The fluorination of these species was performed to understand thechemical behaviour of the tetrafluoride species prior to separation andwhether this behaviour could not be manipulated to effect separation.Thermogravimetric analyses indicated that the formation of ZrF
4
is possiblyvia the oxyfluoride. X-ray powder diffraction was used to confirm theresults.The theoretical equilibrium composition calculations for separation of ZrF
4
 and HfF
4
were simulated. The separation was further studied bytheoretically calculating the separation coefficients of ZrF
4
and the metalfluoride impurities.
 

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