Journal article Open Access
Experimental work has been performed to investigate the precipitation mechanism of aluminum hydroxide phases from sodium aluminate/sodium carbonate pregnant solutions by carbon dioxide gas purging. Such solutions result from leaching calcium aluminate slags with sodium carbonate solutions, in accordance with the Pedersen process, which is an alternative process for alumina production. The concentration of carbonate ions in the pregnant solution is revealed as a key factor in controlling the nature of the precipitating phase. Synthetic aluminate solutions of varying sodium carbonate concentrations, ranging from 20 to 160 g/L, were carbonated, and the resulting precipitating phases were characterized by X-ray diffraction analysis. Based on the results of the previous carbonation tests, a series of experiments were performed in which the duration of carbonation and the aging period of the precipitates varied. For this work, a synthetic aluminate solution containing 20 g/L free Na2CO3 was used. The precipitates were characterized with X-ray diffraction analysis and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy.