Background: In order to remove heavy metals, water treatment by adsorption of zeolite is gaining momentum due to low cost and good performance. In this research, the natural mordenite was used as an adsorbent to remove lead ions in an aqueous solution.
Methods: The effects of adsorption temperature, time and initial concentration of lead on the adsorption yield were investigated. Response surface methodology based on Box-Behnken design was applied for optimization. Adsorption data were analyzed by isotherm models. The process was investigated by batch experiments; kinetic and thermodynamic studies were carried out. Adsorption yields of natural and hexadecyltrimethylammonium-bromide-modified mordenite were compared.
Results: The optimum conditions of maximum adsorption (nearly 84 percent) were found as follows: adsorption time of 85-90 min, adsorption temperature of 50°C, and initial lead concentration of 10 mg/L. At the same optimum conditions, modification of mordenite produced 97 percent adsorption yield. The most appropriate isotherm for the process was the Freundlich. Adsorption rate was found as 4.4. Thermodynamic calculations showed that the adsorption was a spontaneous and an exothermic process.
Conclusions: Quadratic model and reduced cubic model were developed to correlate the variables with the adsorption yield of mordenite. From the analysis of variance, the most influential factor was identified as initial lead concentration. At the optimum conditions modification increased the adsorption yield up to nearly 100 percent. Mordenite was found an applicable adsorbent for lead ions especially in dilute solutions and may also be applicable in more concentrated ones with lower yields.