Removal of Zn2+, Cd2+ and Pb2+ from binary aqueous solution by natural zeolite and granulated activated carbon

Mirjana Minceva, Liljana Markovska, Vera Meshko


The adsorptive removal of Zn2+, Cd2+ and Pb2+ from single and binary metal ion aqueous solution using natural clinoptilolitic zeolite tuff, a regional low-cost naturally available adsorbent, and granulated activated carbon, an adsorbent conventionally applied in wastewater treatment, was studied. The competitive adsorption equilibrium of three binary mixtures (Cd2+/Zn2+, Zn2+/Pb2+ and Pb2+/Cd2+) with different ratios of initial metal ion concentrations, on both adsorbents, was determined in batch mode at 25 ºC. Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms were used to interpret the adsorption data of the investigated systems. The results indicate that the Langmuir isotherm fits the data better in both single and binary component systems. Natural zeolite and granulated activated carbon showed similar adsorption capacity for Pb2+, although granulated activated carbon had higher adsorption capacity for Zn2+ and Cd2+ than natural zeolite. The order of metal ion selectivity on both adsorbents is Pb2+> Cd2+> Zn2+. The binary equilibrium of adsorption showed competitive nature. For all studied metal ions (Zn2+, Cd2+ and Pb2+) the natural zeolite and granulated activated carbon metal ion adsorption capacity in the case of binary systems (adsorption) are lower than those obtained for a single metal systems (adsorption), and are significantly influenced by the ratios of initial metal ion concentrations in the binary water solutions.


heavy metals; adsorption; binary mixture equilibrium; granular activated carbon; natural zeolite

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