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Equilibrium model for ion exchange between multivalent cations and zeolite-A in a molten salt


  • This article is a U.S. Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.


A two-site equilibrium model that previously only accommodated monovalent cations has been extended to include divalent and trivalent cations for ion exchange between zeolite-A and molten chloride salts, a process being considered for concentrating nuclear fission products into high level waste forms. Equilibrium constants were determined by fitting the model to equilibrium data sets for ion exchange between zeolite-A and Cs ternary salt (CsCl-LiCl-KCl), Rb ternary salt (RbCl-LiCl-KCl), Na ternary salt (NaCl-LiCl-KCl), Sr ternary salt (SrCl2-LiCl-KCl), and U ternary salt (UCl3-LiCl-KCl). The results reveal a good fit between the experimental data sets and the model. The two ion exchange sites, framework sites and occluded sites, demonstrate different relative selectivities for the cations. It was found that Sr2+ is the preferred cation in the ion exchange site, and Cs+ is the preferred cation in the occlusion site. Meanwhile, Li+ has the highest combined selectivity when both ion exchange and occlusion sites are considered. Interestingly, divalent and trivalent species are more preferred in the ion exchange site than the monovalent species with the exception of Li+. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2006