Liquid/liquid metal extraction: Phase diagram topology resulting from molecular interactions between extractant, ion, oil and water
Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule, UMR 5257 (CEA/CNRS/UM2/ENSCM), BP. 17171, 30206 Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France
Revised: 27 September 2012
Published online: 3 December 2012
We consider the class of surfactants called “extractants” since they specifically interact with some cations and are used in liquid-liquid separation processes. We review here features of water-poor reverse micelles in water/oil/ extractant systems as determined by combined structural studies including small angle scattering techniques on absolute scale. Origins of instabilities, liquid-liquid separation as well as emulsification failure are detected. Phase diagrams contain the same multi-phase domains as classical microemulsions, but special unusual features appear due to the high spontaneous curvature directed towards the polar cores of aggregates as well as rigidity of the film made by extracting molecules.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2012