Cadmium adsorption by coal combustion ashes-based sorbents--relationship between sorbent properties and adsorption capacity
Balsamo, M.; Di Natale, F.; Erto, A.; Lancia, A.; Montagnaro, F.; Santoro, L.
Journal of Hazardous Materials 187(1-3): 371-378
A very interesting possibility of coal combustion ashes reutilization is their use as adsorbent materials, that can also take advantage from proper beneficiation techniques. In this work, adsorption of cadmium from aqueous solutions was taken into consideration, with the emphasis on the intertwining among waste properties, beneficiation treatments, properties of the beneficiated materials and adsorption capacity. The characterization of three solid materials used as cadmium sorbents (as-received ash, ash sieved through a 25 μm-size sieve and demineralized ash) was carried out by chemical analysis, infrared spectroscopy, laser granulometry and mercury porosimetry. Cadmium adsorption thermodynamic and kinetic tests were conducted at room temperature, and test solutions were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Maximum specific adsorption capacities resulted in the range 0.5-4.3 mg g(-1). Different existing models were critically considered to find out an interpretation of the controlling mechanism for adsorption kinetics. In particular, it was observed that for lower surface coverage the adsorption rate is governed by a linear driving force while, once surface coverage becomes significant, mechanisms such as the intraparticle micropore diffusion may come into play. Moreover, it was shown that both external fluid-to-particle mass transfer and macropore diffusion hardly affect the adsorption process, which was instead regulated by intraparticle micropore diffusion: characteristic times for this process ranged from 4.1 to 6.1d, and were fully consistent with the experimentally observed equilibrium times. Results were discussed in terms of the relationship among properties of beneficiated materials and cadmium adsorption capacity. Results shed light on interesting correlations among solid properties, cadmium capture rate and maximum cadmium uptake.