Electrochemical recovery of Nd using liquid metals (Bi and Sn) in LiCl-KCl-NdCl3

Sanghyeok Im, Nathan D. Smith, Stephanie Castro Baldivieso, Jarrod Gesualdi, Zi Kui Liu, Hojong Kim

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3 Citations (SciVal)


Highly efficient recovery of Nd into liquid metals of Bi and Sn was achieved in molten LiCl-KCl-NdCl3 electrolyte at 773–973 K by leveraging the strong interactions of Nd with liquid metals. Based on the emf measurements of Nd-Sn and Nd-Bi alloys, the activity values of Nd were determined as low as 1.1‒5.8×10–13 in both liquid metals at 973 K while the solubility of Nd was found to be 1.46 mol% in Sn and 5.65 mol% in Bi. Both liquid metals demonstrated high round-trip coulombic efficiencies (>99.3%) during deposition-removal cycles of 10‒50 mA cm‒2 and high recovery capacity up to approximately 20 mol% Nd beyond the solubility limit. In addition, a high Nd recovery yield (84–90%) with respect to the applied charge was confirmed based on chemical analysis of electrolysis products in Bi after constant current electrolysis (–50 mA cm–2) at 873‒973 K. Overpotentials during the Nd deposition process were attributed to charge-transfer and mass-transport resistances based on the current-potential curve and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The charge-transfer kinetics of Nd deposition into liquid metals was facile with high exchange current densities at ∼220 mA cm‒2. The exceptionally high recovery efficiency for Nd in the molten chloride is thought to result from strong chemical interactions (i.e., low activity) of Nd in liquid metals that encourage one-step reduction, i.e., Nd3+ + 3e → Nd(in Bi or Sn) by effectively suppressing side reaction pathways from multivalent states (Nd2+ and Nd3+).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140655
JournalElectrochimica Acta
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry


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