Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Committee Chair

Courtney Young

First Advisor

Hsin Huang

Second Advisor

Rodney James

Third Advisor

Brian Kukay


Adsorption behavior of the anionic collector salicylhydroxamic acid (SHA) on a selected group of rare earth oxides (REOs) and carbonates (RECs) was studied via experimental methods and modelling software. Synthetic oxide and carbonate powders of the rare earth elements cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), europium (Eu), and terbium (Tb) were tested for this research. Studies were conducted at different pH levels to analyze the kinetics of collector adsorption onto the oxide and carbonate surfaces in attempts to optimize recovery parameters for commercial flotation processes using SHA. In addition, thermodynamic software StabCal was implemented to compare theoretical adsorption behavior of collectors SHA and octylhydroxamic acid (OHA) on these four rare earth oxides and carbonates. Theoretical points of zero charge were also estimated via StabCal and compared to experimental values to establish validity. Results for oxides indicate that both the amount and rate of SHA adsorption are highest for lighter REOs, decreasing as ionic diameter increases, a chelation phenomenon common with hydroxamates. However, results for the carbonates exhibit the opposite trend: strongest SHA adsorption was seen in the heavy RECs. This pattern correlates to the increasing stability of the carbonate such that ionic diameter of the REs becomes more amenable to chelation due to differences in bonding chemistry. Overall, adsorption kinetics appear dependent on pH, coordination chemistry, and cation size.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Metallurgical/Mineral Processing Engineering