FUNDAMENTAL STUDY ON THE RECOVERY AND REMOVAL OF WHITE PHOSPHORUS FROM PHOSPHORUS SLUDGE
Electro-thermal production of white phosphorus(WP, P4) generates substantial amount of highly toxic phossy water and sludges. Because of their high phosphorus contents and lack of reliable processing technology, large tonnages of these hazardous wastes have accumulated from current and past operations in the United States. In this study, two different methods for treatment of phosphorus sludge were investigated. These were bulk removal of WP by physical separation(froth flotation) and transformation of WP to oxyphosphorus compounds by air oxidation in the sludge medium. Kerosene, among other collectors, resulted in selective flotation of WP from the associated mineral gangue. Solvent action of kerosene occurring on the WP surface(by rendering WP particles hydrophobic) might produce the high selectivity of WP. The WP recovery in the froth was 79.3% from a sludge assaying 34.2% of WP. In the oxidation study, air gas was dispersed in the sludge medium by the rapid rotation of the impeller blades. The high level of sludge agitation intensity caused a fast completion of the oxidation reactions and it resulted in the high percentage conversion of WP to PO4-3 with PO3-3 making up almost all portion of oxyphosphorus compounds. The WP analysis on the treated sludge showed that supernatant solution and solid residue contained an average of 4.2 μg/L and 143 ppm respectively from the sludge containing about 26 g of WP. Further investigation will be required on operational factors to better understand the processes and achieve an optimum condition.
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