Potentiometric pH measurements in acidic sulfate solutions at 250 °C relevant to pressure leaching

D. S. Seneviratne, V. G. Papangelakis, X. Y. Zhou, S. N. Lvov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A flow-through yttria-stabilized zirconia (FTYSZ) electrode has been employed for pH measurements at 250 °C in concentrated electrolyte systems relevant to hydrometallurgical processing of nickeliferous laterites. Experiments were conducted using a custom-made flow-through titanium electrochemical cell specially designed for high-temperature potentiometric pH measurements. In the present work, we assess the accuracy and validity of pH measurements with theory at 250 °C on concentrated sulfate process solutions. First, binary sulfuric acid-water solutions were measured at concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 mol kg-1 and showed 0.3 pH unit increase on the average between 25 and 250 °C. The measurements were then extended to ternary and quaternary systems containing 0.0076-0.038m Al2(SO4)3 and 0.0276-0.276m MgSO4, respectively. Autoclave passivation against corrosion was successfully achieved using sodium chromate or hydrogen peroxide. In this technique, the potentials are measured against a Ag/AgCl flow-through external reference electrode (FTEFE). A reference solution of 0.1 mol kg-1 NaCl(aq) flows permanently through the electrode at a constant flow rate, so that the thermal liquid junction and streaming potentials are kept constant. The experimental results were compared with theory using available thermodynamic data for estimating the quality of pH measurements. An average difference of 0.15 pH unit was observed between measured and theoretical values at temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Feb 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Metals and Alloys
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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