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Author: Subject: Isolation of thorium metal
Gui316
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[*] posted on 5-9-2011 at 13:00
Isolation of thorium metal


I would like to know how, in the industrial escale, do people isolate thorium from its main mineral, thorianite. It also contains small amounts of uranium, right? Is it possible to extract both metals? Can they be stored on mineral oil to prevent oxidation and keep its shine?
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 5-9-2011 at 18:28


Main mineral? You're kidding, right? One visit at Wikipedia gives you monazite. Thorianite is very rare.
And there's the industrial process (monazite sand) explained pretty well.




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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 6-9-2011 at 11:49


Quote: Originally posted by Gui316  
I would like to know how, in the industrial escale, do people isolate thorium from its main mineral, thorianite. It also contains small amounts of uranium, right? Is it possible to extract both metals? Can they be stored on mineral oil to prevent oxidation and keep its shine?


Even if you possesed some thorianite, extracting the metal in relatively pure form from it is extremely difficult at the level of home science.




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[*] posted on 7-9-2011 at 07:34


Most thorium minerals contain REE (Lanthanides) and other metals as well, you do need to do a fair amount of processing to isolate the thorium; this generally takes advantage of Th(IV) being the only stable state in aqueous solutions.

The metal itself will require anhydrous and oxygen-free conditions; storing under argon in sealed ampules seems to be a common storage method.

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Mr. Wizard
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[*] posted on 7-9-2011 at 08:26


Small amounts of up to 3%Thorium Oxide are used in Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding electrodes. Thorium helps electron emission from the rod, the same purpose it served in thoriated filaments in old, and possibly new as well, electron tubes. Old mantles for Coleman lanterns were also slightly radioactive because of the thorium in their makeup. The new ones are supposed to be thorium free. The radiation from the old mantles, thoriated rods, and even bulk potassium chloride water softener salt is easily measurable with a GM counter.
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