Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Recycling Platinum

13.01.2012
Electrochemical dissolution of platinum in an ionic liquid

Precious metals, especially platinum, are important catalytic materials for many chemical reactions. For example, platinum is used in some fuel cells; however, broad commercialization of such fuel-cell technology is hampered by the fact that platinum is rare and thus far too expensive.

Growing demand is making it necessary to develop efficient and environmentally friendly processes for recycling platinum. Jing-Fang Huang and Hao-Yuan Chen at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan have now introduced a new approach in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Their method is based on the dissolution of the metal in an ionic liquid.

Recycling platinum is a difficult, complicated process. The first step is the dissolution of the used platinum. Because platinum is a very special precious metal, this isn’t so easy. The solvents used for this are usually highly corrosive aqua regia, a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids, or a highly oxidizing mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide known as piranha. There are also electrochemical recycling processes, but these mostly require highly toxic electrolytes or corrosive media, or they release toxic gases. They also suffer from insufficient current densities and passivation of the electrodes.

Huang and Chen have now developed a novel process that avoids all of these disadvantages. In this procedure, platinum is electrochemically dissolved in a mixture of zinc chloride and a special ionic liquid. An ionic liquid is an organic salt that is in a melted state at temperatures below 100 °C. Ionic liquids are considered environmentally friendly solvents because they have very low vapor pressures and are very thermally stable, so they do not release any toxic substances. They also have high ionic conductivity, which makes them very useful in electrochemical applications.

The used platinum is introduced in the form of an electrode, a voltage is applied, and the surrounding ionic liquid heated to about 100 °C. The platinum then dissolves surprisingly fast. The dissolved platinum can then be removed on a carrier electrode, either as the pure metal or as a zinc alloy, without prior treatment of the solution. The scientists are optimistic that this process can also be adapted for other precious metals.

Says Huang: “We are doing our best to solve the problem about the effective use of precious metals. The recycling of precious metals is a possible strategy. Even now, we do not think we have found the best process. We will continuously modify the process in order to extend its applications or look for a much better one”.

About the Author
Dr. Jing-Fang Huang is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. His main specialties are electrochemistry, sensor and energy. He is also interested in the development of ionic liquid with potential applications in the synthesis of functional materials, sensors, and fuel cells.
Author: Jing-Fang Huang, National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan, ROC), http://www.nchu.edu.tw/chem/jfhuang.htm
Title: Heat-Assisted Electrodissolution of Platinum in an Ionic Liquid
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201107997

Jing-Fang Huang | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.nchu.edu.tw/chem/jfhuang.htm
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>