Masters Theses


"Liquid-liquid extraction is an important operation in the production and reprocessing of nuclear fuels. In the purification of uranium by liquid-liquid extraction, uranyl nitrate is separated from impurities by extraction into an organic solvent, followed by re-extraction into an aqueous phase. Further processing of the aqueous uranyl nitrate solution is tailored to yield uranium metal or any desired uranium compound.

In order that students in nuclear and chemical engineering may have an understanding of the practical as well as theoretical aspects of liquid-liquid extraction, a model of a uranium purification plant was designed and built in the Unit Operations Laboratory of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. For reasons of safety, the system used in the model could not include radioactive materials or heavy metals; therefore, the chemical processing of nuclear fuels was illustrated using methanol, trichloroethylene, and water.

The model includes a rotating disc extraction column and a pulsed perforated-plate column for carrying out separations based on solubility relationships, and a bubble cap distillation column in which separations are based on vapor pressure differences. Methanol (representing uranyl nitrate) was extracted from a methanol-trichloroethylene solution (representing the impure uranyl nitrate solution) into a water phase (which represented the organic solvent). The resulting methanol-water solution was separated in a distillation column which represented the re-extraction of uranyl nitrate into an aqueous phase. The model unit was highly instrumented to illustrate the use and operation of control instruments and to provide a permanent record of important variables. Analytical instruments were included to provide additional information necessary to the study of material and energy relationships. The extraction and distillation columns were glass to allow visual observation of their operation.

The objectives of this investigation were: to construct a pulsed perforated-plate extraction column and associated equipment which, together with the rotating disc column, comprise the extraction unit; to prepare operating instructions; and to perform preliminary experiments in the equipment"--Introduction, pages 1-2.


Thompson, Dudley, 1913-1996

Committee Member(s)

Lorey, G. Edwin
Miles, Aaron J.
Webb, William H.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy

Publication Date



x, 135 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-131).


© 1960 Clarence James Vetter, Jr., All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Extraction (Chemistry) -- Equipment and supplies
Chemical engineering -- Equipment and supplies
Nuclear engineering -- Equipment and supplies

Thesis Number

T 1289

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Electronic OCLC #