Solid Phase Extraction of Thorium and Uranium and their Separation from Lanthanides using Humic Acid Silica Gel as a Low-Cost Adsorbent


  • Erik Prasetyo Research Unit for Mineral Technology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences
  • Kazuhiro Toyoda Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, 060-0810 N10W5, Sapporo,



humic acid, separation, solid phase extraction, thorium, lanthanides, uranium.


Solid phase extraction and separation of thorium (Th), uranium (U) and lanthanides were achieved using a humic acid-modified silica gel (Si-HA). Adsorption capacity, effect of contact time, pH, and adsorbent dose were examined at room temperature. The maximum adsorbent capacities (pH = 3) for Th and U were 28.0 and 31.3 mg g-1, respectively. The isotherm parameters denoted that the adsorption was favorable and optimum conditions were attained within 90 min. The kinetic data conformed well to pseudo-second order and intra-particle diffusion models. The distribution coefficients of U, Th and lanthanides in EDTA, citric acid and nitric acid media signify the possible separation of each element from the others. The salinity did not significantly affect the ability of Si-HA to extract Th and U. The adsorbent stability and reusability were also assessed through four-adsorption-desorption cycles. The simplicity of the proposed separation method along with the stability of the adsorbent and high regeneration efficiency under acidic conditions demonstrated the merit of using Si-HA as a low-cost adsorbent.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Erik Prasetyo, Research Unit for Mineral Technology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences

Balai Penelitian Teknologi Mineral

Kazuhiro Toyoda, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, 060-0810 N10W5, Sapporo,

Graduate School of Environmental Science


Gui W., Zhang, H., Liu, Q., Zhu, X. & Yang, Y., Recovery of Th(IV) from Acid Leaching Solutions of Bastnaesite at Low Concentration, Hydrometallurgy, 147-148, pp. 157-163, 2014.

Nasab, M.E., Sam, A. & Milani, S.A., Determination of Optimum Process Conditions for the Separation of Thorium and Rare Earth Elements by Solvent Extraction, Hydrometallurgy, 106(3-4), pp. 141-147, 2011.

Anirudhan, T.S., Bringle, C.D. & Rijith, S., Removal of Uranium(VI) from Aqueous Solutions and Nuclear Industry Effluents using Humic Acid-immobilized Zirconium-pillared Clay, J. Environ. Radioactiv., 101(3), pp. 267-276, 2010.

Donia, A.M., Atia, A.A., Daher, A.M., Desouky, O.A. & Elshehy, E.A., Selective Separation of U(VI) from Its Solutions using Amine Modified Silica Gel Produced from Leached Zircon, Int. J. Miner. Process, 101, pp. 81-88, 2011.

Nilchi, A., Dehaghan, T.S. & Garmarodi, S.R., Kinetics, Isotherm and Thermodynamics for Uranium and Thorium Ions Adsorption from Aqueous Solutions by Crystalline Tin Oxide Nanoparticles, Desalination, 321, pp. 67-71, 2013.

Prado, A.G.S., Miranda, B.S. & Dias, J.A., Attachment of Two Distinct Humic Acids onto a Silica Gel Surface, Colloids and Surface A: Physicochem. Eng. Asp., 242(1-3), pp. 137-143, 2004.

Jal, P.K., Patel, S. & Mishra, B.K., Chemical Modification of Silica Surface by Immobilization of Functional Groups for Extractive Concentration of Metal Ions, Talanta, 62(5), pp. 1005-1028, 2004.

Prado, A.G.S., Miranda, B.S. & Zara, L.F., Adsorption and Thermochemical Data of Divalent Cations onto Silica Gel Surface Modified with Humic Acid at Solid/Liquid Interface, J Hazard Mater., 120(1-3), pp. 243-247, 2005.

Stathi, P. & Deligiannakis, Y., Humic Acid-inspired Hybrid Materials as Heavy Metal Absorbents, J. Colloid and Interface Sci., 351(1), pp. 239-247, 2010.

Yusof, A.M., Mahat, M.N., Omar, N. & Wood, A.K.H., Water Quality Studies in an Aquatic Environment of Disused Tin-mining Pools and in Drinking Water, Ecol. Eng., 16(3), pp. 405-414, 2001.

Koopal, L.K., Yang, Y., Minnaard, A.J., Theunissen, P.L.M. & Riemsdijk, W.H.V., Chemical Immobilisation of Humic Acid on Silica, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspect, 141(3), pp. 385-395, 1998.

Negrea, A., Ciopec, M., Lupa, L., Davidescu, C.M., Popa, A., Ilia, G. & Negrea, P., Removal of As(V) by Fe(III)-loaded XAD7 Impregnated Resin containing Di(2-ethylhexyl) Phosphoric Acid (DEHPA): Equilibrium, Kinetic, and Thermodynamic Modeling Studies, J. Chem. Eng. Data, 56(10), pp. 3830-3838, 2011.

ECETOC, Technical report 123: Adsorption-desorption Distribution (Kd) and Organic Carbon-water Partition (KOC) Coefficients, / (accessed May 24, 2017).

Itodo, A.U. & Itodo, H.U., Sorption Energies Estimation Using Dubinin-Radushkevich and Temkin Adsorption Isotherms, Life Science Journal, 7(4), pp. 31-39, 2010.

Ashraf, M.A., Maah, M.J. & Yusoff, I., Morphology, Geology and Water Quality Assessment of Former Tin Mining Catchment, The Sci. World J., Article ID 369206, 15 pp.,, 2012.

Weber, W.J. & Morris, J.C., Kinetics of Adsorption on Carbon from Solution, J Sanitary Engineering Division, 89(2), pp. 31-60, 1963.

Erdogan, S., Merdivan, M., Hamamci, C., Akba, O. & Baysal, A., Polymer Supported Humic Acid for Separation and Preconcentration of Thorium(IV), Anal Lett, 37(12), pp. 2565-2575, 2004.

Khalili, F. & Al-Banna, G., Adsorption of Uranium(VI) and Thorium(IV) by Insolubilized Humic Acid from Ajloun Soil-Jordan, J. Environ. Radioact., 146, pp. 16-26, 2015.

Raju, Ch.S.K. & Subramanian, M.S., Sequential Separation of Lanthanides, Thorium and Uranium using Novel Solid Phase Extraction Method from High Acidic Nuclear Wastes, J. Hazard Mater, 145(1-2), pp. 315-322, 2007.




How to Cite

Prasetyo, E., & Toyoda, K. (2017). Solid Phase Extraction of Thorium and Uranium and their Separation from Lanthanides using Humic Acid Silica Gel as a Low-Cost Adsorbent. Journal of Engineering and Technological Sciences, 49(4), 508-519.