(580f) Crystallization Behaviors of Lithium Carbonate in Strong Alkaline Solution: Solubility, Nucleation Mechanism, and Particle Size Control

Jiang, Y. F. - Presenter, East China University of Science and Technology
Yu, J., East China University of Science and Technology
Liu, C. L., East China University of Science and Technology
Li, P., East China University of Science and Technology
Luo, M., East China University of Science and Technology
Xue, J., East China University of Science and Technology

behaviors of lithium carbonate in strong alkaline solution: solubility,
nucleation mechanism, and particle size control

Youfa Jiang, Chenglin Liu*,
Jin Xue, Mengjie Luo, Ping Li, Jianguo Yu*

State Key laboratory of
Chemical Engineering,
Engineering Research Center for Integrated Utilization of Salt Lake Resources, East
China University of Science and Technology,

Meilong Road 130, Shanghai, China, 200273.

jiangyoufa2012@126.com, liuchenglin@ecust.edu.cn, jgyu@ecust.edu.cn


carbonate is extensively applied in high energy density batteries,1pharmaceuticals2
and ceramics industry.3
In particular, with the rapid development of lithium-ion battery, the crystallization of lithium
carbonate has drawing increasing attention under various situations, such as
the Li2CO3-NaCl-Na2SO4-H2O
reaction between LiCl and CO2 by use of solvent extraction process,5
and the gas-liquid reactive crystallization of CO2 and LiOH.6

practice, two natural lithium source are typically utilized for production of
Li2CO3: salt brine and lithium-containing minerals,7
among which the later accounts for ~70% of total lithium production in China.8
The industrial process for extraction of lithium from minerals includes acid
digestion, alkaline digestion and ionic exchange method.9
And the soluble lithium in strong alkaline solutions is obtained during
alkaline digestion.10
The objective of this work is to investigate the reactive crystallization
process of Li2CO3 in strong alkaline solution.

this study, the solubility of lithium carbonate in alkaline solutions of
different concentrations over the temperature range from 303.15 K to 363.15 K is
firstly investigated. In addition, the Pitzer model is adopted to accurately
estimate the solubility of Li2CO3 in NaOH solutions,
which provides a fundamental basis for recovery of lithium from the alkaline
leaching liquor.

induction period for lithium carbonate primary nucleation, as a function of
caustic concentration, supersaturation, temperature and string rate, is
subsequently measured by use of focused beam reflectance measurement (FBRM). The
primary nucleation includes homogeneous nucleation and heterogeneous
nucleation, which can be verified according to the correlation between
induction period and supersaturation. The determination of induction period not
only helps obtain important properties such as interfacial tension, and
critical nucleus size, but also contributes to manipulate the crystallization
process to produce products of high quality.

the operating parameters such as caustic concentration, temperature, the feed rate of Na2CO3
solution and the concentration of LiOH are subsequently studied to investigate
the influence on the lithium recovery and the quality of product. And the
mechanism of crystallization of lithium carbonate in strong alkaline solutions
is proposed to highlight the effect of alkali on the morphology and crystal
size distribution (CSD) of lithium carbonate.

lithium carbonate, strong alkaline solution, solubility, nucleation, particle
size control


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