Electrolytic Production of Calcium Metal
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines developed an alternative electrochemical process for the production of calcium metal. The current industrial practice is costly, complex, and inefficient. The Bureau method involved electrowinning of a calcium-tin alloy followed by electrorefining to produce calcium metal. In the electrowinning cell, CaCI2 was fed to a KCI2-CaCI2 electrolyte. The calcium was electrowon at 6500 C into the pure molten tin cathode until the cathode contained 7.5 wt pct Ca. Current efficiency for electrowinning averaged over 90 pct. The resulting calcium-tin alloy served as the anode for the electrorefming cell, which employed a [CaC~-CaF2] fused salt as the electrolyte. Calcium metal was electrorefmed at 8500 C with a current efficiency of 85 pct based on calcium metal recovered. The calcium metal analyzed 99.2 pct, which is purer than commercially produced calcium.
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