Masters Theses


Andrew Artzer

Keywords and Phrases

Antimony; Bismuth; Copper electrorefining; Impurity removal; Solution purification; Solvent extraction


"Antimony and bismuth are two of the most problematic impurities in copper electrorefining (ER). Because of this, much research has been done investigating the ways to remove them. Processes that are currently being used industrially include anode additions, liberators, ion exchange (IX), and solvent extraction (SX). Of these, liberators and anode additions are the most common while SX is the least, mostly being used for arsenic removal. There are other methods that have been evaluated, but are not in commercial use. These include the use of various electrolyte additives, and adsorbents such as bentonite clay and heavy metal sulfates.

Two proprietary phosphonic acid ester extractants (REX-1 and REX-2) were examined for the removal of antimony and bismuth from copper ER electrolytes. Experimentation included shakeout and break tests to determine the basic parameters for the extractants in terms of maximum loading, break times, and extraction and stripping efficiency as well as a laboratory-scale test using a mini-pilot plant to examine effectiveness under commercial conditions.

The shakeout tests found that REX-2 was able to extract Sb and Bi from the electrolyte, but required some mixture with REX-1 to better facilitate stripping with 400 g/L sulfuric acid. Phase break times revealed that glue in the ER electrolyte caused a statistically significant decrease in the disengagement times. In the mini-pilot plant, only REX-2 was used. Antimony and bismuth were both extracted effectively, and Bi was effectively stripped with 400 g/L sulfuric acid. Unfortunately, most of the extracted Sb remained in the organic phase. A conceptual flowchart to make a Bi product was created"--Abstract, page iv.


Moats, Michael S.

Committee Member(s)

O'Malley, Ronald J.
Schlesinger, Mark E.


Materials Science and Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Removal of antimony and bismuth from copper electrorefining electrolyte: Part I -- A review
  • Removal of antimony and bismuth from copper electrorefining electrolyte: Part II -- An investigation of two proprietary solvent extraction extractants
  • Laboratory scale extraction of bismuth and antimony from a copper electrorefining electrolyte using a proprietary phosphonic acid ester extractant


x, 64 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references.


© 2019 Andrew Joseph Artzer, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11517

Electronic OCLC #