Development of a Model to Estimate the Thermodynamic Stability of Organic Substances in Leaching Processes

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    The leaching processes for metals using organic substances represent a sustainable approach to recover precious minerals from solid matrices. However, the generation of organometallic species and the lack of thermodynamic diagrams make it difficult to advance the understanding of their behavior and optimize the process. In this work, a thermodynamically and stoichiometrically consistent mathematical model was developed to estimate the thermodynamic stability of organic substances during the leaching process, and iron leaching with oxalic acid was used as a case study. The Pourbaix and the global thermodynamic stability diagrams for the system were developed in this study. Using a Gaussian®, it was estimated that the Gibbs free energy formation for (Formula presented.), (Formula presented.) and (Formula presented.) was −1407.51, −2308.38, and −3068.89 kcal/mol. A set of eleven independent reactions was formulated for the sixteen species involved in the leaching process, and its stability functions in terms of Eh and pH were calculated to generate a 3D global thermodynamic stability diagram. According to the Eh-pH diagrams for the leaching process, ferrioxalate was identified as the most stable and predominant species in the leaching process at pH above 6.6 under reductive conditions. The mathematical model developed in this work resulted in a thermodynamic tool for predicting leaching processes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1424
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The APC was funded by Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. No external funding was received.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 by the authors.


    • 3D E-pH diagrams
    • E-pH diagrams
    • free energy
    • iron
    • organic leaching
    • oxalates
    • Pourbaix
    • stability


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