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Open Access Publications from the University of California

In-situ anodic precipitation process for highly efficient separation of aluminum alloys.


Electrorefining process has been widely used to separate and purify metals, but it is limited by deposition potential of the metal itself. Here we report in-situ anodic precipitation (IAP), a modified electrorefining process, to purify aluminium from contaminants that are more reactive. During IAP, the target metals that are more cathodic than aluminium are oxidized at the anode and forced to precipitate out in a low oxidation state. This strategy is fundamentally based on different solubilities of target metal chlorides in the NaAlCl4 molten salt rather than deposition potential of metals. The results suggest that IAP is able to efficiently and simply separate components of aluminum alloys with fast kinetics and high recovery yields, and it is also a valuable synthetic approach for metal chlorides in low oxidation states.

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