Selective liquid-liquid extraction of mercuric ions by octyl methane sulfonamide
N-octyl methane sulfonamide (OMSA) has been demonstrated to be a very efficient reagent for selective extraction of Hg(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The extraction bases on rapid reaction of OMSA with Hg(II) ions yielding mono and disulfonamido mercury compounds in ordinary conditions. Solubility of OMSA and its mercury compounds in 2-ethyl hexanol provide a clear-cut phase separation in the extraction. The solution of OMSA in 2-ethyl hexanol (0.4 mol L-1) is able to extract 82.2% of mercuric-acetate (0.4 mol L-1) in non-buffered conditions. Although the process depends on the nature of accompanying anions the distribution coefficient is reasonably high (k(d) greater than or equal to 1.27) even in the presence of chloride ions. The extraction is strictly selective and the presence of Cd(II) Zn(II) Pb(II) do not bring any interference. The extraction system works in moderate concentrations. Extracted mercury in the organic phase can be recovered by back-extraction with concentrated HCl or H2SO4 solutions. After acid treatment the organic solution of OMSA becomes regenerated without losing its activity due to reasonable hydrolytic stability of the sulfonamide linkage and it can be recycled for further extractions.