The supramolecular and coordination chemistry of cobalt(II) extraction by phosphinic acids

Innis Carson, Peter Tasker, Jason Love, Michael T. Moser, Adam J. Fischmann, Boban Jakovljevic, Matthew Soderstrom, Carole Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A combination of mass spectrometry, DFT calculations and 31P{1H} NMR spectroscopy has been used to define the mode of action of the commercial cobalt extractant, bis(2,4,4-trimethylpentyl)phosphinic acid (CYANEX®272, L1H) in Co recovery. The nature of the Co(II)-complexes formed in the water-immiscible phase is determined largely by the propensity of phosphinates to form strong interligand H-bonds in the outer coordination sphere and also to form stable µ2-Co-O-P-O-Co bridges. At low Co loading levels, the predominant species is the 4:1 complex, [Co(L1.L1H)2], in which coordinated neutral phosphinic acid ligands form strong H-bonds to adjacent anionic phosphinates. At higher Co loading, oligomers such as [(L1.L1H)Co(L12Co)n(L1.L1H)] are formed with µ2-phosphinate bridging, resulting in a substantial increase in the viscosity of the water-immiscible phase. The presence of tris(2,4,4-trimethylpentyl)phosphine oxide (L2) in the commercial formulation reduces the viscosity because its incorporation into oligomeric complexes such as [(L2)Co{L13CoL1CoL13Co}mL1] can terminate chains, resulting in a lower average molecular weight. The uptake of Zn by L1H shows a very similar dependence of viscosity on loading, and DOSY spectra and mass spectrometry demonstrate that higher molecular weight species are present at high Zn loading.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of inorganic chemistry
Early online date21 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2018


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