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2.1. Materials
This protocol is extracted from research article:
Extraction of Al from Coarse Al–Si Alloy by The Selective Liquation Method
Materials (Basel), Jul 1, 2021; DOI: 10.3390/ma14133680

The coarse Al–Si alloys used in the experiments come from Dengfeng Electric Group Aluminum Alloy Corporation, Henan, China. The coarse Al–Si alloy used kaolinite as its raw material and anthracite as a reductant, and thus contained many metallic impurities, oxides and carbides. Iron, calcium, and titanium are the main metallic impurities. Other impurities include alumina, ferric oxide, and silicon oxide in the form of complex oxides such as porzite (3Al2O3∙2SiO2). The impurities in the form of oxides can be removed by refining, but the metallic impurities cannot. Figure 1 shows X-ray diffraction (XRD) of the coarse Al–Si alloy before and after refining. In the present experiments, a solvent refining method was used. A mixture of NaCl, KCl, and Na3AlF6 was used as the purificant. The NaCl and KCl used in the experiments were all analytically pure reagents, produced by Sinopharm Chemical Reagent Co., Ltd., (Beijing, China) where NaCl and KCl were dried at 300 °C for 5 h. Table 1 lists the main composition of the coarse Al–Si alloy and refining coarse Al–Si alloy. The Zn liquation agent had a purity of 99.9% and was acquired from Huludao Zinc Industry Co. Ltd., Liaoning, China. Figure 2 shows the extraction process flow diagram.

XRD of spectra of coarse Al–Si alloy. (a) before; (b) after the refining.

Extraction process flow diagram.

Composition of the coarse Al–Si alloy (wt%).

As shown in Table 1, there is a high content of impurities in the coarse Al–Si alloy produced by the carbothermal reduction method. Figure 3b–e show the elemental distribution and scanning electron microscope images of the Al–Si alloy, respectively. The Fe-rich phases in the coarse Al–Si alloy are all in the form of Al–Si–Fe intermetallics (i.e., 39.43 wt% Al, 32.79 wt% Si, and 27.78 wt% Fe). As shown in Figure 3b, the aluminum is mainly in the form of pure aluminum (e.g., point B) and Al–Si–Fe intermetallics (e.g., point A), and the silicon is mainly in the form of pure silicon (e.g., point C) and Al–Si–Fe intermetallics (e.g., point A). In addition, a small amount of fine silicon particles is unevenly distributed in the aluminum with some dissolution into the aluminum. Refining experiments were carried out at 1187 K for 30 min using a composition of 47.0 wt%NaCl–9.0 wt%KCl–44.0 wt.% Na3AlF6 as the purificant. As shown in Figure 1, the diffraction peaks of many oxides are not obvious after the refining process.

Photograph of coarse Al–Si alloy and elemental distributions of refined coarse Al–Si alloy. (a) coarse Al–Si alloy; (b) SEM of coarse Al–Si alloy; (c) Distribution of aluminum; (d) Distribution of silicon; (e) Distribution of iron.

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