Adsorption of sulfate from acid mine drainage in Northwestern China using Malan loess

  • Qiang Zheng
  • Yongbo ZhangEmail author
  • Yanrong Li
  • Zhixiang Zhang
  • Aijing Wu
  • Hong Shi
Original Paper


Malan loess is a gray-yellow/brown-yellow, highly porous substance that has carbonate and calcium nodule late quaternary sediment formed by the accumulation of windblown dust. In this paper, the adsorption performances and mechanisms of sulfate adsorbed on Malan loess (Q3) were evaluated using batch adsorption experiments. The effects of the solid-to-liquid ratio, contact time, initial concentration, temperature, and pH on sulfate adsorption in acid mine drainage (AMD) were studied. The results indicated that sulfate adsorption capacity in loess increased with increasing contact time, initial concentration, and temperature, but decreased with an increased solid-to-liquid ratio. The acid condition was beneficial to the adsorption of sulfate. The optimal solid-to-liquid ratio was 100 g/L within the 50 to 800 g/L range, whilst the adsorption capacity and removal rate were 123.86 mg/g and 61.38%, respectively. XRD and FTIR analysis with or without sulfate adsorption demonstrated that calcite of loess played a key role during adsorption. Based on the results of batch experiments and physiochemical analysis, chemical adsorption was the dominant contributor. These results suggest that Malan loess is an applicable adsorbent for sulfate pollution.


Adsorption mechanisms Isotherm Kinetic Malan loess Sulfate removal 



The authors would also like to thank the reviewers of this article whose insightful comments and suggestions resulted in a significantly improved manuscript.

Author contributions

The idea was developed by all authors of this manuscript who set up a working group and worked jointly on the manuscript. Q. Z., Y. Z., Y. L., Z. Z., and A. W conceived and designed the experiments; Q. Z. and A. W. performed the experiments; Q. Z., Y. Z. and Y. L. analyzed the data; Q. Z., Y. Z., and H. S wrote the paper. All authors have contributed to the revision and approved the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Fund Projects of China (No. 41572221) and the research fund of key research programs of the Ministry of Science and Technology for water resource efficiency development and utilization project (No. 2018YFC0406403).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiang Zheng
    • 1
  • Yongbo Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yanrong Li
    • 1
  • Zhixiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Aijing Wu
    • 1
  • Hong Shi
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Water Resources Science and EngineeringTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanChina

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