Caustic Extraction of Alumina and Soda From Dawsonite-Bearing Oil Shale
Description:The Bureau of Mines investigated the caustic extraction of alumina and soda from retorted dawsonite-bearing oil shale, as part of a program to devise technology for treating alternative domestic sources of alumina for the production of aluminum metal. Colorado oil shale yielding 13 pct oil (35 gal/ton) and containing 12 wt-pct dawsonite (representing about 4 pct extractable alumina) was retorted to obtain oil-free (spent) shale Spent shale was leached with dilute NaOH to determine the effect of particle size, retorting temperature, leaching variables, and storage conditions on extraction of alumina and soda and dissolution of impurities. Maximum alumina and soda extractions were obtained by promptly leaching minus 28-mesh spent shale, obtained by retorting raw shale at about 5000 C, with 0.5N NaOH. Under these conditions, dissolution of impurities such as Ca, Fe, Ti, and P was low. Leaching tests were made on spent shale stored for periods of up to 30 days at 0° to 42° C and at 0 to 100 pct relative humidity (RH). These tests indicated that significant reductions in alumina extraction would occur if spent shale were stored in ambient Colorado air under naturally fluctuating temperature and humidity.
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