Journal of Materials Research and Technology Journal of Materials Research and Technology
J Mater Res Technol 2017;6:57-64 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2016.05.006
Original Article
Thermodynamic modeling of phases equilibrium in aqueous systems to recover potassium chloride from natural brines
Ruberlan Gomes da Silvaa,, , Marcelo Secklerb, Sonia Denise Ferreira Rochac, Daniel Saturninod, Éder Domingos de Oliveirad
a Mineral Development Centre of Vale, Santa Luzia, MG, Brazil
b Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
c Department of Mining Engineering, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
d Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Received 09 November 2015, Accepted 17 May 2016
Abstract

Chemical fertilizers, such as potassium chloride, ammonium nitrate and other chemical products like sodium hydroxide and soda ash are produced from electrolyte solutions or brines with a high content of soluble salts. Some of these products are manufactured by fractional crystallization, when several salts are separated as solid phases with high purity (>90%). Due to the large global demand for potassium fertilizers, a good knowledge about the compositions of salts and brines is helpful to design an effective process. A thermodynamic model based on Pitzer and Harvie's model was used to predict the composition of crystallized salts after water removal by forced evaporation and cooling from multicomponent solutions or brines. Initially, the salts’ solubilities in binary systems (NaCl–H2O, KCl–H2O and MgCl2–H2O) and ternary system (KCl–MgCl2–H2O) were calculated at 20°C and compared with literature data. Next, the model was compared to our experimental data on the quinary system NaCl–KCl–MgCl2–CaCl2–H2O system at 20°C. The Pitzer and Harvie's model represented well both the binary and ternary systems. Besides, for the quinary system the fit was good for brine densities up to 1350kg/m3. The models were used to estimate the chemical composition of the solutions and salts produced by fractional crystallization and in association with material balance to respond to issues related to the production rates in a solar pond containing several salts dissolved, for instance, NaCl, KCl, MgCl2 and CaCl2.

Keywords
Quinary system, Natural brine, Potassium chloride, Pitzer and Harvie's model, Fractional crystallization
J Mater Res Technol 2017;6:57-64 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2016.05.006