UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rare Earth Elements Recovery Using Selective Membranes via Extraction and Rejection Bashiri, Atiyeh; Nikzad, Arash; Maleki, Reza; Asadnia, Mohsen; Razmjou, Amir


Recently, demands for raw materials like rare earth elements (REEs) have increased considerably due to their high potential applications in modern industry. Additionally, REEs’ similar chemical and physical properties caused their separation to be difficult. Numerous strategies for REEs separation such as precipitation, adsorption and solvent extraction have been applied. However, these strategies have various disadvantages such as low selectivity and purity of desired elements, high cost, vast consumption of chemicals and creation of many pollutions due to remaining large amounts of acidic and alkaline wastes. Membrane separation technology (MST), as an environmentally friendly approach, has recently attracted much attention for the extraction of REEs. The separation of REEs by membranes usually occurs through three mechanisms: (1) complexation of REE ions with extractant that is embedded in the membrane matrix, (2) adsorption of REE ions on the surface created-active sites on the membrane and (3) the rejection of REE ions or REEs complex with organic materials from the membrane. In this review, we investigated the effect of these mechanisms on the selectivity and efficiency of the membrane separation process. Finally, potential directions for future studies were recommended at the end of the review.

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