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Volume 30, Issue 4, July 2001
30(2001); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1391426View Description Hide Description
Liquidalkali metals have several physical properties which favor their use in a number of important applications. For example, their large liquidus temperature range and their excellent heat transferproperties are important for use as heat transfer media. They are used in large nuclear reactors in which hundreds of tons of sodium are circulating, and in small parts of engines for cooling of valves. Since these metals are among the most electropositive elements, several of them (Li, Na) can be used in high specific capacity and high energy density batteries at moderately elevated temperatures. The compatibility of metallic constructional materials which are used to contain the liquid metals is strongly influenced by nonmetals present in the liquids. The physical properties of the liquid metals are also influenced by dissolved substances. Several nonmetals dissolved in alkali metals are able to form ternary compounds with components of the constructional materials. Thus, corrosion and compatibility studies have been accompanied by extensive chemical work related to the solutions of non-metallic substances in liquidalkali metals. All available solubility data of nonmetallic elements and some of their compounds in the five liquidalkali metal solvents (Li, Na, K, Rb, and Cs) are collected and compiled. Original publications with reliable data and information on the methods used to generate them are reported in individual Compilations. When numerical data are not given in a publication, the data are often read out from figures and converted into numerical data by the compilers. The precision of this procedure is indicated in the Compilations under Estimated Error. Evaluated solubility data are tabulated at the end of the Critical Evaluations: if there is agreement of at least two independent studies within the experimental error, the solubility values are assigned to the “recommended” category. Values are assigned as “tentative,” if only one reliable result was reported, or if the mean value of two or more reliable studies was outside the error limits. In the tabulation, three, two, or one significant figures are assigned for respective precisions that are better than ±1% and ±10% and worse than ±10%. If necessary, the solubilities are recalculated into mol %. The completeness of this investigation of the literature has been confirmed and extended by studying several reviews dealing with the solution chemistry of substances in the alkali metals.Solubility data are sometimes measured under parameters, which are not standard conditions of such measurements. Frequently measurements are performed under constrained pressure. The solubility of noble gases or other gases, which do not form compounds with the alkali metals, depends on the gas pressures. This dependency is documented in the data sheets. Schematic phase diagrams are presented in systems for which they assist the understanding of the data and the conclusions. They are based on the most recent state of knowledge and generally presented in the Critical Evaluations. Some solubility diagrams are shown in form of a log solubility versus reciprocal temperature function. These figures illustrate the larger scatter of data for systems in which interfering reactions cause unstable behavior of solutions. While several solutes are well defined substances, other systems need still additional studies to define the equilibrium solid state compound. One should realize that estimations of the stoichiometry and thermal stability of ternary compounds are experimentally difficult, and their results are often uncertain.