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Anal Sci. 2011;27(2):171-6.

New apparatus for liquid-liquid extraction, "emulsion flow" extractor.

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Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan.


A simple and low-cost apparatus for continuous and efficient liquid-liquid extraction, which does not need continual mechanical forces (stirring, shaking, etc.) other than solution sending, has newly been developed. This apparatus, named "emulsion flow" extractor, is composed of a column part where an emulsified state fluid flow (emulsion flow) is generated by spraying micrometer-sized droplets of an aqueous phase into an organic phase and a phase-separating part where the emulsion flow is destabilized by means of a sudden decrease in its vertical liner velocity due to a drastic increase in cross-section area of the emulsion flow passing through. In the present study, the performance of a desktop emulsion flow extractor in the extraction of Yb(III) and U(VI) from aqueous HNO(3) solutions into isooctane containing bis(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (D2EHPA) was evaluated. The mixing efficiency of the emulsion flow extractor was found to be comparable with that of a popular liquid-liquid extractor, mixer-settler. Moreover, the emulsion flow extractor proved to have an overwhelming advantage in terms of phase-separating ability.

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