Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 23, pp 24265–24276 | Cite as

Theoretical and experimental study of the mechanisms of phosphate removal in the system containing Fe(III)-ions

  • Yanpengy MaoEmail author
  • Shanxiu Yang
  • Qinyan Yue
  • Wenlong Wang
Research Article


A process-oriented investigation of phosphate removal by ferric salt was carried out in this study. The kinetics of amorphous ferric phosphate (FePO4(s)) formation has been investigated over the pH range of 6.0–8.0 using sulfosalicylic acid as a competitive ligand. The FePO4(s) formation rate constants varied in a narrow range over the pH range examined in this study. And the maximum of (0.90 ± 0.11) × 104 L mol−1 s−1 was obtained at pH 7.5 and the minimum value of (0.05 ± 0.01) × 104 L mol−1 s−1 was obtained at pH 6.0. These values are two orders of magnitude lower than the rate constants for Fe(III) hydrolysis-precipitation, and hence, the extent of FePO4(s) formation when ferric ions are added to aqueous solution is extremely low. Subsequently, the characteristics of the amorphous ferric oxide (AFO) with different ages were investigated, and it was found that the BET surface area, the average pore width, and the charge capacitance were various for different AFO with various ages. Phosphate adsorption by AFO was significantly affected by AFO aging and the manner of adding Fe(III), which was successfully described by a diffuse layer model. By using surface sites concentration obtained, the kinetics constant of AFO aging could be calculated by a functional equation at a certain pH and time.

Graphic abstract

Description of the precipitation and aging processes for the phosphate removal by Fe(III)-ions


Phosphate Fe(III) FePO4 Kinetics Precipitate aging Adsorption 



We gratefully acknowledge the support of National Natural Science Foundation of China (21307075).

Supplementary material

11356_2016_7672_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3373 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanpengy Mao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shanxiu Yang
    • 1
  • Qinyan Yue
    • 2
  • Wenlong Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Engineering Laboratory of Coal-fired Pollutants Emission Reduction, School of Energy and Power EngineeringShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China

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