Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering


Metallurgical Engineering

Committee Chair

Richard Ladouceur


The adsorption capacity for six rare earth elements (Lanthanum, Terbium, Neodymium, Dysprosium, Praseodymium, and Holmium) by biochar produced from hemp feedstock was investigated. An innovative approach to enhancing the adsorption of rare earth elements using biochar was studied and investigates the potential of resonant vibratory mixing (RVM) as a process intensification method compared to conventional mechanical mixing for the adsorption process. Hemp hurds as source of biomass was pyrolyzed to produce biochar at a temperature of 4500C for 60 minutes. The biochar was characterized by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-red), SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), Surpass 3 Electrokinetic solid surface analyzer, and BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller). Five different concentrations of each rare earth element were prepared by dissolving known amounts of the rare earth chlorides in di-ionized water. Rare earth ore samples obtained from Bear Lodge deposits in Wyoming were also leached using 0.3M concentration of oxalic acid to produce REE leachates of pH 1, 4, and 7 respectively. An experimental design was developed for the adsorption experiments with three variables: time of mixing, intensity of vibration, and adsorbent dosage (mass). The results indicated that RVM as a novel mixing method influence the adsorption of REEs from aqueous solutions and it serves improve adsorption kinetics due to its influence on high recovery rate even at short mixing time.

Included in

Metallurgy Commons