Due to its alkalinity, red mud produced by the Bayer process may affect both the environment and human health. For this reason, its further utilization instead of disposal is of great importance. Numerous methods have already been studied for hydrometallurgical treatment of red mud, especially for the recovery of various metallic components such as iron, aluminum, titanium or rare earth elements. This study focuses on the extraction of titanium from red mud and in particular the mineralogical changes, induced by leaching. Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and their combination have been utilized as leaching agents with the same leaching parameters. It has been determined that sulfuric acid is the best candidate for the red mud treatment in terms of titanium leaching efficiency at the end of 2 h with a value of 67.3%. Moreover, samples from intermediate times of reaction revealed that leaching of Ti exhibit various reaction rates at different times of reaction depending on acid type. In order to explain differences, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and QEMSCAN techniques were utilized. Beside titanium oxide (TiO2
) with available free surface area, a certain amount of the TiO2
was detected as entrapped in Fe dominating oxide. These associations between Ti and Fe phases were used to explain different leaching reaction rates and a reaction mechanism was proposed to open a process window.
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