Comparison of distribution coefficients of 14 elements on three cation exchangers
Certain resins used in ion-exchange separation techniques have become very expensive. Although ion-exchange is an economical method to soften water it is important to keep the cost low during the process. Any exorbitant costs will make a process unattractive and eventually obsolete. Bio-Rad AG MP-50 macroporous resin (supplied by Bio-Rad Laboratories, Ltd.) at present costs approximately R20000 (twenty thousand rand) for 500 g compared to Amberlyst 15 R840.00 for 500 mL and Dowex Marathon MSC R312.34 macroporous resin for 500 mL (both supplied by Dow, Rohm and Haas Co). This motivated the research to determine by a comparative study if there is any difference in the efficiency and effectiveness in the quantitative analysis of trace elements when these resins are used. The following elements will be used to determine distribution coefficients for the elements on these resins: Mn, Fe(III), Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Al, Ag, Cd, In, Ga, Tl, Pb and Bi in 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 M nitric acid solutions. Another question is whether there is a difference or a preference when selecting either a microporous or a macroporous resin for the ion-exchange separation. Determination of distribution coefficients for 46 elements had been done by Strelow (Strelow F. W., 1984) in nitric acid on Bio-Rad AG 50W-X8. The results obtained in this study will be compared with the distribution coefficients obtained by Strelow. The Bio-Rad, Amberlyst and Dowex resins were stirred for approximately 30 minutes in deionised water and then packed in a column. Impurities in the resin column were eluted with 5 M HCl and the resin was then rinsed with deionised water to remove the acid. Thereafter the resins was rinsed out of the column with deionised water, filtered off and then dried under vacuum in an oven at 60 0C for approximately 24 hours. Stock solutions of the elements were prepared as 0.1 M solutions and then diluted with deionised water to obtain solutions having the respective concentrations of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 M. Quadruplicate reference standards of each element were prepared. Distribution coefficients of the elements on each resin were determined as described by Strelow (Strelow F. W., Distribution coefficients and ion exchange behaviour of some chloride complex forming elements with Bio Rad AG50W - X8 cation exchange resin in mixed Nitric-Hydrochloric acid solutions, 1989). From the distribution coefficients, obtained from the ICP-OES data, a selectivity series for the 14 elements, mentioned above, was arranged in the decreasing order for each resin’s affinity for the elements. The distribution coefficients also give an indication whether the elements can be quantitatively separated by the cation exchangers in nitric acid media. Elution curves for some elements were done to establish the experimental conditions for quantitative separations of the elements by column cation exchange chromatography.