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Thorium Carbonate

The precipitate obtained by adding sodium carbonate to the solution of a thorium salt is a basic carbonate which dissolves readily in excess of carbonate solution, forming a complex salt. This property serves to distinguish and separate thoria from other rare earths whose carbonates do not so readily dissolve in excess of alkali carbonate. From this solution alcohol precipitates the complex salt Na6Th(CO3)5.12H2O as a crystalline powder; the following salts have also been obtained: K6Th(CO3)5.10H2O, (NH4)2Th(CO3)3.6H2O, Tl6Th(CO3)5.

According to Chauvenet thorium oxide absorbs carbon dioxide, forming orthocarbonates. Under ordinary pressure the compound 2Th(OH)4.CO2 is produced, but under 30-40 atmospheres the ortho-carbonate ThCO4.2H2O. Under this latter pressure the anhydrous oxide yields ThCO4.6ThO2. The addition of sodium carbonate to a thorium salt solution forms ThCO4.8H2O, which loses 6H2O in a vacuum, and on heating to 120° C. forms the basic salt 2ThCO4.2ThO2.3H2O.

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