• Heavy metal;
  • Kaolinite-based clay mineral;
  • Modeling;
  • Simulated effluent


The use of kaolinite-based clay minerals as a low-cost natural adsorbent for the removal of Cu(II) from electroplating waste leachate was studied. Batch experiments were conducted to determine the effects of varying adsorbent loading, initial pH, adsorbent dosage, and contact time. Box–Behnken design with three variables like initial pH, adsorbent dosage, and contact time at three different levels was studied to identify a significant correlation between the effects of these variables to the amount of Cu(II) adsorbed. The methodology identifies the principal experimental variables, which have the greatest effect on the adsorption process. After optimizing the input variables by using Simplex algorithm, the adsorption of Cu(II) was maximal (99.9% with a maximum (positive) standard deviation of 9.4) at pH 6.24, adsorbent dosage of 0.83 g L−1, and contact time of 97 min, respectively. Furthermore, the experimental values are in good agreement with predicted values, the correlation coefficient and adjusted correlation coefficients were found to be 0.96 and 0.87, respectively.