Purposes and aims: Economically efficient methods for removing arsenic from the drinking water supply are urgently needed in many parts of the world. Iron oxides are known to have a strong affinity for arsenic in water. However, they are commonly present in the forms of fine powder or floc, which limits their utility in water treatment. In this study, a novel granular adsorbent, iron-oxide-coated diatomite (IOCD), was developed and examined for its adsorption of arsenic from water. Materials and methods: An industrial-grade diatomite was used as the iron oxide support. The diatomite was first acidified and dried and then coated with iron oxide up to five times. The prepared IOCD samples were characterized for their morphology, composition, elemental content, and crystal properties by various instruments. Experiments of equilibrium and kinetic adsorption of As(V) on IOCD were conducted using 0.1- and 2-L polyethylene bottles, respectively, at different pH and temperatures. Results: Iron oxide (α-Fe2O3 hematite) coated onto diatomite greatly improves (by about 30 times) the adsorption of As(V) from water by IOCD as compared to using raw diatomite. This improvement was attributed to increases in both surface affinity and surface area of the IOCD. The surface area of IOCD increased to an optimal value. However, as the IOCD surface area (93 m2/g) was only 45% higher than that of raw diatomite (51 m2/g), the enhanced As(V) adsorption resulted primarily from the enhanced association of negatively charged As(V) ions with the partial positive surface charge of the iron oxide. The As(V) adsorption decreased when the solution pH was increased from 3.5 to 9.5, as expected from the partial charge interaction between As(V) and IOCD. The adsorption data at pH 5.5 and 7.5 could be well fitted to the Freundlich equation. A moderately high exothermic heat was observed for the As(V) adsorption, with the calculated molar isosteric heat ranging from -4 to -9 kcal/mol. The observed heats fall between those for physical adsorption and chemisorption and are indicative of the formation of a series of ion-pair complexes of As(V) ions with iron oxide surface groups. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the granular IOCD was successfully developed and employed to remove the As(V) in aqueous solution. The Freundlich isotherm well fitted the equilibrium adsorption data of As(V) onto IOCD, and both the pseudo-second-order model and the pore diffusion model simulated well the adsorption kinetics. Compared to other iron-oxide-based adsorbents reported in the literatures, the adsorption capacity of IOCD is relatively high and its kinetics is fast.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis