Acid retardation : recovery and recycling of acid and metal

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Industriell miljö- och processteknik

Abstract: During the production of steel, an oxide scale is formed on the surface and to achieve anadequate quality of the surface the scale needs to be removed. Acid pickling is a surfacetreatment where the oxide scale is removed by acid. Over time the amount of dissolved metals in the acid solution increases leading to a decrease in the pickling efficiency, hence the acid solution needs to be renewed. The renewing can be performed by an operation process called acid retardation. In this process, the spent pickling solution passes through a column packed with an ion exchange material, resin. The absorption of strong acids is preferred by the resin, hence the movement of the acids in the resin bed will be retarded relative to the movement of the metal ions. Regeneration of the resin occurs when water is passing through the resin bed counter current to the flow of the spent pickling solution. This generates a by-product with low acid and high metal content, and a product containing high acid and low metal. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the acid retardation with regards to separation efficiency and the behaviour of acid and metal in the column. The results can further be used as the groundwork for a deeper understanding of the acid retardation and how to optimize the process. Experiments were performed in lab-scale columns with synthetic spent pickling solutions containing sulfuric, nitric and hydrofluoric acid and iron in different mixtures. During the experimental work, variation of the acid and metal concentration, the type of resin and the height of the column were performed. The results from the experimental work show that a concentration dependence between the concentration of acid and metal exists and the performance of different resin types varies depending on the acid and metal solution tested. The height might also affect the separation, but it is recommended that this is further investigated. Other recommendations for further work with a focus on understanding the acid retardation for optimization include variations of the volume of solution added to the column, variation in flow rate and slurry packing of the resin.

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