Sorption of Protactinium (V) on Silica Colloid and the Effect of Humic Acid

  • Madhusudan GhoshEmail author
  • Rakesh Verma
Conference paper


Protactinium (V) is strongly sorbed on silica colloids in the pH range of 3–9 in NaClO4 medium. The sorption of Pa (V) is lower (70–80%) below pH 3 and above pH 9. There is no significant change in the sorption behavior of Pa (V) on silica colloid in the presence of humic acid between pH 3 and 9. However, there is a small reduction in the sorption below pH 2 and above pH 10. To elucidate the sorption mechanism the charge of Pa (V) species in different pH medium was determined by ion-exchange technique using 231Pa tracer. The average charge on the Pa (V) species in dilute HClO4 (0.1–3.0 M) medium was 1+. Although neutral species predominated between pH 6 and 11, negatively charged species started forming in higher pH and were predominant above pH 11. The zeta potential of silica, humic acid and silica-humic acid systems were also measured. The point of zero charge (PZC) of silica was about pH 2, and the magnitude of the zeta potential increased with increase in the pH. The zeta potential of humic acid was negative between the pH 1 and 12, and the magnitude increased with increase in the pH. The zeta potential of silica–humic acid combined system in the pH range of 1–12 was negative, whereas the magnitude was between that of silica and humic acid. The strong sorption of Pa (V) on silica colloid in the pH range 3–9 was assigned to surface complexation, whereas the reduction in sorption (below pH 3 and above pH 9) was attributed to electrostatic repulsion, as a fraction of Pa (V) exists as cationic species at pH ≤ 2 and anionic species above pH 9. The reduction in the sorption of Pa (V) below pH 2 and above pH 10 in the presence of humic acid was assigned to reduced magnitude of the zeta potential of silica in the presence of humic acid and complexation of Pa (V) with humic acid, respectively. Comparison of the results of sorption of Pa (V) on silica with that of Nb (V) showed the chemical similarity between the two metal ions.


Silica colloid Protactinium Humic acid Sorption Radioactive waste 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Analytical Chemistry DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreMumbaiIndia

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