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研究  Research



Chemical elements play a fundamental role in shaping every aspect of human civilization. To deepen our understanding of material transformation, we are actively developing innovative processes for extracting pure elements from complex systems. These endeavors allow us to gain valuable insights into the nature of matter and its transformative properties.

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​Physical chemistry of oxyanions in molten salts


Multiple elements in the periodic table groups 13-16 possess semiconductor properties. They usually bind with O to form oxyanions, such as borate, silicate, phosphate and selenate. Our research has revealed that all these oxyanions exhibit solubility in molten CaCl2. Accordingly, we focus on elucidating the physical chemistry of oxyanions in molten CaCl2, including formation mechanism, mass transfer, microstructure and electrochemical behavior. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of these phenomena, we aim to establish a solid foundation for the development of novel processes for elements extraction or recycling. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the advancement of sustainable and efficient methods in the field of element utilization.

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电化学提取单质磷元素 (P4)
​Electrochemistry isolates elemental phosphorus



In 1669, a significant breakthrough occurred in chemistry when a German alchemist named Brandt successfully discovered elemental phosphorus. This groundbreaking achievement was accomplished through carbothermic reduction of urine distillate.

Fast-forward to 2019, where our research team developed an innovative method for the isolation and recycling of elemental phosphorus from phosphate-bearing solids. Our approach involves the utilization of electrochemistry, a technique that harnesses electrical energy to drive chemical transformations. 

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资料 Reference


* Yao YU and Xiao YANG*, “Dissolution of Solid FePO4 in Molten CaCl2”, Metall. Mater. Trans. B, In Press (2024)

* Guanting LIU, Yuanjia Ma, and Xiao YANG*, “Cleaner extraction of white phosphorus from phosphate rock through molten salt electrolysis”, J. Cleaner Prod., 434 (2024), 140374.

* Yuxiang ZHONG, Guanting LIU, and Xiao YANG*, "Isolating Elemental Phosphorus from Sewage Sludge Ash by Electrochemistry", Resources, Conservation & Recycling,190(2023), 106815.

* Guanting LIU, Yuxiang Zhong, and Xiao YANG*, “Electrolysis of Dissolved Phosphate in Molten CaCl2 Prepares High-Purity White Phosphorus”, Metall. Mater. Trans. B, 54 (2023), 2277-2282.

* Y. ZHONG and X. YANG*, “Dissolution Behavior of Solid Ca3(PO4)2 in molten CaCl2”, Metall. Mater. Trans. B, 52 (2021), 3515-3523.

* X. YANG* and T. NOHIRA, “A New Concept for Producing White Phosphorus: Electrolysis of Dissolved Phosphate in Molten Chloride”, ACS Sus. Chem. Eng., 8 (2020), 13784-13792.


​A video showing the process of isolating P4 from sewage sludge ash by electrochemistry (click and play)

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