, Volume 145, Issue 1-4, pp 289-306

Adsorption of Heavy Metals on Mixed Fe-Al Oxides in the Absence or Presence of Organic Ligands

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A study was carried out on the adsorption of Co2+, Cu2+, Pb2+, and Zn2+ ions on mixed Fe-Al oxides inthe absence or presence of increasing concentrations of oxalate or tartrate. Mixed Fe-Al oxides were prepared by precipitating at pH 5.5 mixtures of Fe and Al ions at initial Fe/Al molar ratios (R) of 0, 1, 2, 4, 10 and ∞ (R0, R1, R2, R4, R10 and R∞).The oxides aged 7 days at 20 °C or 30 days at 50 °C showed different chemical composition and physico-chemical and mineralogical properties. All the mixed Fe-Al oxides showed presence of poorly crystalline materials (ferrihydrite) even after prolonged aging. The heavy metals wereselectively adsorbed on the oxides. For all the precipitates aged7 days at 20 °C, the selectivity sequence wasPb2+> Cu2+ > Zn2+ > Co2+, but the pH at which 50% ofeach cation was adsorbed (pH50) was different from sample tosample. It was found that usually the greater the amounts of Fe in Fe-Al gels the lower the pH50 for each metal, but the adsorption of a heavy metal was not linearly related to Fe content. The pH50 usually did not change significantly when the oxides were aged 30 days at 50 °C. Competitive adsorption of Cu and Zn on ferrihydrite (R∞) showed thatCu strongly prevented Zn adsorption even at an initial Zn/Cu molar ratio of 8, whereas Cu sorption was not inhibited. In thepresence of oxalate (OX) or tartrate (TR) (organic ligand/Pb molar ratio (rL) from 0 to 7) the quantities of Pb adsorbedon the Fe-Al oxides usually increased with increasing rL. The adsorption increase of Pb was particularly high on the oxidesricher in Fe (R4-R∞), but a significant increase was also observed on R0-R2 samples. The adsorption of Pb on the oxides hasbeen influenced not only by the presence and concentration of organic ligands but also by the sequence of addition of Pb and tartrate on the sorbents. It has been ascertained that on each oxide the greater amounts of Pb were adsorbed when tartrate wasadded before Pb and usually according to the following sequence: Tr before Pb > Pb before Tr > Pb + Tr > Pb.