New insight into the removal of Cd(II) from aqueous solution by diatomite

  • Jingjie Chang
  • Jia Zhang
  • Biqi Tan
  • Qun Wang
  • Nannan Liu
  • Qiang XueEmail author
Research Article


Diatomite is an economical and environmentally friendly adsorbent, and its use has been applied widely for the treatment of water contaminated by heavy metals. Despite this, the mechanism for the removal of the heavy metal Cd(II) remains unclear. In this work, we explored the adsorption mechanism of Cd(II) by diatomite using batch experiment, and characterized the diatomite using scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive spectrometry, specific surface area, and pore size distribution analysis. Our results showed that, under the experimental conditions, the kinetic adsorption approached equilibrium within 5 min, and the Sips isotherm model was most suitable for data fitting. EDS characterization of the Cd-loaded diatomite indicated that Cd(II) was adsorbed onto the diatomite. Furthermore, desorption experiments showed that Ca2+ and Mg2+ in the diatomite caused an ion exchange interaction, and this was primarily responsible for Cd(II) adsorption. Moreover, we found that its contribution to the whole adsorption reaction could reach 80%, while the remainder of Cd(II) was probably trapped in the microporous structure of the diatomite. Additionally, our data indicated that the adsorption mechanism did not change significantly after regeneration. These results have provided special insight into the deep understanding of the mechanism of Cd(II) adsorption by diatomite, and could provide theoretical support and guidance for further development and application of diatomite in the treatment of Cd(II)-contaminated water.

Graphical abstract


Diatomite Cd(II) Adsorption Desorption Ion exchange Water pollution 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Research Fund of China Geological Survey (DD20190703), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (No. 8182049), Guangxi key research project (GuikeAB18050026), and the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41672239).

Supplementary material

11356_2020_7620_MOESM1_ESM.docx (248 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 239 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Water Resources and EnvironmentChina University of Geosciences (Beijing)BeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.MOE Key Laboratory of Groundwater Circulation and Environmental EvolutionChina University of Geosciences (Beijing)BeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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