Homogeneous hydrolysis of thorium by thermal decomposition of urea

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  • Solvay - Etoile Part-Dieu
  • KUL - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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Thorium was precipitated homogeneously from a thorium nitrate solution by the thermal decomposition products of urea. The kinetics of the hydrolysis were studied at 90 and 100 °C by pH measurement during the initial 5 h and the precipitation efficiencies of thorium and radium were measured over a 24 h period. Precipitation of the radium daughters was closely followed with the aim of co-precipitation of radium with thorium. The CO2 formed during urea decomposition dissolved in the solution, forming CO3 2− during the experiment upon reaching a sufficiently high pH level (>7). This allowed radium to co-precipitate partially, thus reducing the activity of the filtrate. After filtration or centrifugation, the precipitate is composed of nanocrystalline thorium dioxide (crystallite size ~10 nm), with weakly bound H2O and CO2.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalRadiochimica Acta
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2018


  • Thorium, urea, radium, homogeneous precipitation, ThO2

ID: 4859462