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Mechanism for reverse electroosmotic flow and its impact on electrokinetic remediation of lead-contaminated kaolin

Abstract

The direction of electroosmotic flow in clay is normal from the anode to the cathode, and the opposite direction is rarely observed. However, electroosmotic flow from the cathode to the anode was observed in kaolin acidified to pH 4 by acetic acid during an electroosmosis experiment. It had an impact on the electrokinetic remediation occurring with lead-contaminated kaolin. The experimental results indicated that reverse electroosmotic flow from the cathode to the anode was caused by a decrease in the absolute value of the soil zeta potential due to the compressed double electric layer and the hydrophilic carboxyl groups in acetate ions. The reverse electroosmotic flow was stronger than normal electroosmotic flow from anode to cathode. The reverse electroosmotic flow had an impact on migration of lead ions in the lead-contaminated kaolin during electrokinetic remediation experiments. The experimental results indicated that the rate for removal of Pb was increased by 10.1% due to the reverse electroosmotic flow. A micro-mechanism model for lead ion migration was built according to the functions of electric field and electroosmotic flows on lead ions, and it explained well the mechanism for the impact of reverse electroosmosis on lead ion removal. The micro-mechanism model indicated that when the direction of the stronger electroosmotic flow is the same as the migration direction of Pb, the rate for removal of Pb is improved, and vice versa.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by research grants from National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2021YFC2901701) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Grant Nos. 41472039 and 51109168).

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Yan-feng Zhuang led the projects and designed the experiments. Zhitao Liu participated in the experiment design and carried out the experiments. Yani Liu participated in the experiments, carried out the data analysis and drafted the manuscript. Fang Xiao participated in preparation and revision of the manuscript; Yan-feng Zhuang significantly helped with revision of the manuscript and gave final approval for the version to be submitted.

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Correspondence to Yan-feng Zhuang.

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Liu, Y., Zhuang, Yf., Xiao, F. et al. Mechanism for reverse electroosmotic flow and its impact on electrokinetic remediation of lead-contaminated kaolin. Acta Geotech. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11440-022-01640-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11440-022-01640-3

Keywords

  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Electroosmosis
  • Ion migration
  • Reverse electroosmotic flow
  • Zeta potential