Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 23, pp 22710–22724 | Cite as

Hydrothermal synthesis of a magnetic adsorbent from wasted iron mud for effective removal of heavy metals from smelting wastewater

  • Suiyi Zhu
  • Ge Dong
  • Yang Yu
  • Jiakuan Yang
  • Wu YangEmail author
  • Wei Fan
  • Dandan ZhouEmail author
  • Jiancong Liu
  • Leilei Zhang
  • Mingxin Huo
  • Yi Wang
Research Article


A magnetic adsorbent (MA) was synthesized from wasted iron mud of a groundwater treatment plant using a novel one-step hydrothermal method. The results showed that Fe content of MA was 41.8 wt%, 2.5 times higher than that of iron mud, which was caused by hydrothermal dissolution of non-ferrous impurities under alkaline condition, such as quartz and albite, regardless of addition of ascorbic acid or not. Ferrihydrite was 92.7% in dry iron mud before adding ascorbic acid and gradually decreased to 58.1% by increasing the molar ratio of ascorbic acid to Fe following hydrothermal treatment. The strongest saturation magnetization of 16.29 emu/g was observed in the prepared MA-4 when the ascorbic acid to Fe molar ratio was 1. The highest surface site concentration of 1.31 mmol/g was observed in MA-2 when the ratio was 0.02. The mechanism of hydrothermal conversion of wasted iron mud to MA was reductive dissolution of ferrihydrite to form siderite, which was then reoxidized to maghemite. When 12.5 g/L of MA-2 was applied to treat smelting wastewater, over 99% removal of Cu2+, Zn2+, Pb2+, and Cd2+ was achieved. The major mechanisms of Cu2+ and Zn2+ adsorption by the adsorbent were cationic exchange.


Groundwater plant Iron mud Hydrothermal synthesis Maghemite Heavy metals Smelting wastewater 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51578118, 51238001, 51408110, 51678273, 51508079, and 51378098) and the Long-Term Program in “1000 Talent Plan for High-Level Foreign Experts” (Grant No. WQ20142200209).

Supplementary material

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11356_2018_2378_MOESM2_ESM.doc (58 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Technology Innovation Center for Municipal Wastewater Treatment and Water Quality ProtectionNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Engineering Lab for Water Pollution Control and Resources RecoveryNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Songliao Aquatic Environment (Ministry of Education)Jilin Jianzhu UniversityChangchunChina
  4. 4.School of Environmental Science & EngineeringHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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