Sorption characteristics of heavy metal ions by a natural zeolite



Zeolites have been shown to be effective adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions. A natural material from Cuba, containing zeolite, has been used for the removal of several metal ions, namely Cu2+, Zn2+, and Ni2+, to evaluate its potential use as a low-cost adsorbent. Batch experiments have been conducted to evaluate the process kinetics and the removal equilibrium at different pH values, metal and zeolite concentrations. Pseudo-second order kinetics and Freundlich equilibrium parameters have been obtained. Results suggested that this natural zeolite has a high potential for heavy metal retention. The selectivity of the studied metals was determined as Cu2+ ≫ Zn2+ > Ni2+, related to the first hydrolysis equilibrium constant. The metal removal efficacy was strongly dependent on pH, and to a lesser extent on metal/zeolite ratio. Copyright © 2005 Society of Chemical Industry