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An innovative dual-column system for heavy metallic ion sorption by natural zeolite

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 13:10 by Amanda L. Ciosek, Grace K. Luk
This study investigates the design and performance of a novel sorption system containing natural zeolite. The apparatus consists of packed, fixed-bed, dual-columns with custom automated controls and sampling chambers, connected in series and stock fed by a metering pump at a controlled adjustable distribution. The purpose of the system is to remove heavy metallic ions predominately found in acid mine drainage, including lead (Pb2+), copper (Cu2+), iron (Fe3+), nickel (Ni2+) and zinc (Zn2+), combined in equal equivalence to form an acidified total 10 meq/L aqueous solution. Reported trends on the zeolite’s preference to these heavy metallic ions is established in the system breakthrough curve, as Pb2+ >> Fe3+ > Cu2+ > Zn2+ >> Ni2+. Within a 3-h contact period, Pb2+ is completely removed from both columns. Insufficient Ni2+ removal is achieved by either column with the promptest breakthrough attained, as zeolite demonstrates the least affinity towards it; however, a 48.97% removal is observed in the cumulative collection at the completion of the analysis period. The empty bed contact times for the first and second columns are 20 and 30 min, respectively; indicating a higher bed capacity at breakthrough and a lower usage rate of the zeolite mineral in the second column. This sorption system experimentally demonstrates the potential for industrial wastewater treatment technology development. Keywords: zeolite; sorption; packed fixed-bed columns; heavy metallic ions; automated sampling design



Ryerson University