Complexes formed by zinc and cyanide ions at elevated pH.
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The experimental work described in this thesis is aimed primarily towards elucidation of the speciation of zinc-cyanide systems at elevated pH. In this study the formation and stability of H+-eN-, binary Zn2+-eN- and ternary Zn2+-CN--QH- complexes were studied by glass electrode potentiometry in aqueous solutions at 25.0°0 and in a medium of ionic strength of 0.1 mol dm-3. The solution pH was varied to cover the range 4 to 11. The study was undertaken with a view to establishing whether and under what conditions soluble binary zinc-cyanide complexes and ternary zinc-cyanide-hydroxide complexes form, and to determine formation constants for any such species that are found. This information would be useful in defining more precisely the speciation of solutions containing zinc and cyanide ions at elevated pH values. A titration method was used, in which hydrogen ion concentration was monitored by means of a glass indicating electrode. The cell was calibrated to allow measurements of hydrogen ion concentration rather than hydrogen ion activity. Owing to precipitation difficulties, the reagents were used at sub-millimolar concentration levels. The potentiometric data was interpreted with the aid of various formation function plots together with the use of various computer programs, such as HALTAFALL and ESTA. The results show that the ternary complex Zn(ON)3(OH)2- is formed in significant amounts in solutions of pH > 8.5. Some evidence was also obtained for the existence of the five coordinated species Zn(CN)3(OH)~- and Zn(CN)~- in these solutions, but existence of the latter two species cannot yet be regarded as firmly established. No polynuclear complexes were detected at the sub-millimolar concentrations used. Formation constants are reported for H+-eN- and both binary Zn2+-eN- and ternary Zn2+-eN--QH- species.