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Response surface methodology for strontium removal process optimization from contaminated water using zeolite nanocomposites


The effective removal of strontium from polluted water is an emerging issue worldwide, especially in Japan, after the destruction of Fukushima’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the strontium removal process, statistical optimization of associated factors is needed to reduce the quantity of chemicals and the number of experimental trials. In this study, response surface methodology based on the central composite design was employed for assessing the influence of different factors and their interaction effects on the efficiency of strontium removal. We have considered nanoscale zero-valent iron-zeolite (nZVI-Z) and nano-Fe/Cu zeolite (nFe/Cu-Z) as adsorbents for the effective removal of strontium. The results suggested that the studied three factors such as pH, contact time, and concentration are positively related to the adsorption of strontium. That is, the maximum strontium removal occurred at pH, initial concentration, and contact time of 12, 200 mg L−1, and 30 min, respectively. The experimental maximum strontium adsorption capacity of nZVI-Z and nFe/Cu-Z adsorbents is 32.5 mg/g and 34 mg/g, respectively. The present study also showed that the most statistically significant potential contributor was initial concentration, followed by contact time in the removal process. The study indicated that the interaction effect between contact time and initial concentration was statistically important, suggesting the need for a multi-mechanism technique in the removal phase of strontium. Tόth, Langmuir, Dubinin-Astakhov (D-A), Freundlich, and Hill isotherm models were also fitted with the experimental strontium adsorption data, in which the Tόth model fitted best compared to the other models based on the RMSD and R2.

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Data availability

All data used and analyzed in this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.



Degrees of freedom


Value of F-statistic


Mean sum of squares


Probability value


Root-mean-square deviation

R2 (adj):

Adjusted R2

std. error:

Standard error of estimates


Sum of squares


Value of t-statistic

α :

Level of significance (−)


Mean removal of strontium (mg g−1)

λ 0 :

Overall mean (mg g−1)

λ i :

Coefficients of predictor (−)


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Authors and Affiliations



Shamal Chandra Karmaker: conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, writing-original draft. Osama Eljamal: investigation, experiments, writing-review and editing. Bidyut Baran Saha: conceptualization, methodology, writing-review and editing, supervision.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bidyut Baran Saha.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Responsible Editor: Tito Roberto Cadaval Jr.

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Karmaker, S.C., Eljamal, O. & Saha, B.B. Response surface methodology for strontium removal process optimization from contaminated water using zeolite nanocomposites. Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 56535–56551 (2021).

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  • Adsorption
  • Central composite design
  • Optimization
  • Removal
  • Strontium