Sodium Hydroxide Method for Extracting Oxygen from Lunar Minerals
Dr. Larry Friesen
The sodium hydroxide (NaOH) process can get all metals (in addition to
oxygen) from lunar rocks/regolith. Most other processes only get some
metals. An important problem is to separate the reduced metals.
In Binder's approach, all recoveries could be done in the same tank.
- Fractional distillation (boiling) can be used to get Na, K, P.
- Magnesium floats on NaOH. You can skim pure Mg from the top.
- Al is soluble in alkalies. Boil off the NaOH at the end (to clean up)
to get a pure Al residual.
- If you add water, Ca, Ba, and Y form hydroxides. Refine these with
- If you pump CO2 into the residuals, you will form
carbonyls. These can
be separated easily. You end up with a steel having about 1% Mn and 2% Cr
- A weak HCl solution will leach out Ti.
This is based on remarks by Alan Binder at a Lockheed/NASA Advanced
Missions group meeting, August 23, 1988. Alan Binder is currently Principal
Scientist for the NASA Lunar Prospector mission.
Content by Larry Friesen <email@example.com>
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