One method used in order to defluorinate wet process phosphoric acid is vacuum evaporation. The concentration of 54% P2O5 acid to a 68-72% P2O5 strength is performed in vessels that use high-pressure (30.6-37.4 atm or 450-550 psig) steam or an externally heated Dowtherm solution as the heat energy source for evaporation of water from the acid. Fluorine removal from the acid occurs concurrently with the water vapor loss. A typical process flow diagram for vacuum-type evaporation is shown in Figure 5.
A second method of phosphoric acid defluorination entails the direct contact of hot combustion gases (from fuel oil or gas burners) with the acid by bubbling them through the acid. Evaporated and defluorinated product acid is sent to an acid cooler, while the gaseous effluents from the evaporation chamber flow to a series of gas scrubbing and absorption units. Finally, aeration can also be used for defluorinating phosphoric acid. In this process, diatomaceous silica or spray-dried silica gel is mixed with commercial 54% P2O5 phosphoric acid. Hydrogen fluoride in the impure phosphoric acid is converted to fluosilicic acid, which in turn breaks down to SiF4 and is stripped from the heated mixture by simple aeration.
The major wastewater source in the defluorination processes is the wet scrubbing of contaminants from the gaseous effluent streams. However, process conditions normally permit the use of recirculated contaminated water for this service, thereby effectively reducing the discharged wastewater volume.
Was this article helpful?