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ArticleName Calculation and experimental determination of equilibrium composition of liquors in certain instances of the Na2O – К2O – Al2O3 – H2O System
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2022.07.03
ArticleAuthor Brichkin V. N., Fedorov A. T.

Saint-Petersburg Mining University, Saint Petersburg, Russia:

V. N. Brichkin, Head of Metallurgy Department, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:
A. T. Fedorov, Postgraduate Student at the Metallurgy Department, e-mail:


Presently, one can definitely state a rising interest to potassium-bearing aluminium ores, which is due to a gradual depletion of conventional raw materials and the fact that the ores that are mined today are leaner and have a more complex composition. At the same time, soda-potassium products, potassium fertilizers, aluminium hydroxide, alumina and alumina materials are in high demand and sell at high prices. Today, the focus is on new deposits of urtite rock and nepheline ores, as well as those of ultrapotassium rischorrite and synnyrite rock. That’s why it is very important to have a basic understanding of the nature and properties of the technically important system Na2O – К2O – Al2O3 – H2O, which defines the performance of the key processes involved, as well as the output and quality of the final product. In this regard, studying phase equilibria in the above system, the information about which is lacking or inconsistent, can be pointed out as one of the current research priorities. Two methods were tested aimed at reducing the time necessary to reach equilibrium in the Na2O – K2O – Al2O3 – H2O system. One involves hydrolytic decomposition of aluminate liquors with aluminium hydroxide used as seed; the other involves a mathematical description of the curves characterizing the kinetics of gibbsite solubility in alkaline liquors with a given mole fraction of K2O. Similar laboratory equipment and materials were used in the experimental study regardless of the way equilibrium was reached and identified. Through experiments, it was established that the process of approaching equilibrium in predominantly potassium aluminate liquors has complex kinetics and mechanics impeding rapid identification of equilibrium composition of liquors. With regard to the technique that involves gibbsite dissolution in weak sodium-potassium liquors, the authors demonstrate how asymptotic approximation functions can be effectively used to determine maximum solubility of aluminium oxide. The results of experiments aimed at defining the equilibrium compositions of liquors at 60 oC in certain instances of the Na2O – К2O – Al2O3 – H2O system have a good and satisfactory correlation with the modelling data based on the additivity principle, which suggests that the modelling technique can effectively be applied to other temperatures and instances of the 4-component system in view.

This research was funded by the Russian Science Foundation under the Agreement No. 18-19-00577-П dated April 28, 2021 on granting funds for basic scientific research and exploratory research.

keywords Alumina production, aluminate liquor, potassium and sodium, phase equilibria, modelling, experimental study, methods, equilibrium compositions

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