Experimental productivity rate optimization of rare earth element separation through preparative solid phase extraction chromatography.
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Separating individual rare earth elements from a complex mixture with several elements is difficult and this is emphasized for the middle elements: Samarium, Europium and Gadolinium. In this study we have accomplished an overloaded one-step separation of these rare earth elements through preparative ion-exchange high-performance liquid chromatography with an bis (2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid impregnated column and nitric acid as eluent. An inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry unit was used for post column element detection. The main focus was to optimize the productivity rate, subject to a yield requirement of 80% and a purity requirement of 99% for each element, by varying the flow rate and batch load size. The optimal productivity rate in this study was 1.32kgSamarium/(hmcolumn(3)), 0.38kgEuropium/(hmcolumn(3)) and 0.81kgGadolinium/(hmcolumn(3)).