The possibility and effectiveness of removal of phosphate from aqueous solutions with the use of new low-cost synthetic zeolites obtained from fly ash and modified with lanthanum, was studied. Physicochemical properties of the zeolites were characterized by different techniques such as X-ray diffraction, low-temperature nitrogen sorption and scanning electron microscopy. It has been established that lanthanum is preferentially located in the zeolites channels and cages, which is related to the ion-exchange method of modification. Introduction of lanthanum cations leads to a reduction in BET surface area, mainly due to a decrease in the area of micropores and reduction in the pore volume. The key element of the study was a series of tests of phosphate adsorption from aqueous solutions. The efficiency of adsorption process was found to depend on the concentration of adsorbate, pH of its solution and temperature. The sorption capacity of zeolites obtained from fly ashes (La-P1, La-A) towards phosphate was compared with that of a natural zeolite - clinoptilolite, modified with lanthanum (La-CLP). The sorption capacities of the particular samples were as follows: La-P1 - 58.2 mg/g, La-A - 44.0 mg/g and La-CLP - 24.6 mg/g. The experimental data were well fitted by the Langmuir isotherm model. The sorption capacities of all samples towards phosphate increased with temperature increasing from 25 to 60 °C. The values of the thermodynamic parameters ΔH0 and ΔG0 revealed that the adsorption was spontaneous and endothermic.
Keywords: Equilibrium studies; Fly ash; Ion exchange method; Low-cost adsorbents; Phosphate adsorption; Sorption capacity.
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