Performance of extractants

The performance of an extractant is determined by its structure, and organic reagents used as extractants must meet two conditions: (1) there is at least one functional group in the extractant molecule, which combines with metal ions to form an extraction complex. Common extraction functional groups are atoms such as O, N, P, S, etc. These atoms all have lone pair electrons and are electron donors, also known as coordination atoms.

Among extractants, oxygen atoms are the most functional group; (2) The extractant molecule must have a considerable length of carbon chain or benzene ring, which makes the extractant and its complex soluble in the organic phase but insoluble in the aqueous phase.

However, if the carbon chain is too long, it will increase the viscosity of the extractant or become a solid, making it unsuitable for use as an extractant. The relative molecular weight of the extractant generally ranges from 350 to 500.

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