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The effect of pH on the retention of Cu, Pb, Zu and Cd by clay-humic acid mixtures

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The amount of metal ion sorbed by the solids increased with increasing pH over the range 3 to 6, and with mixtures of clay-cellulose or illite-humic acid the uptake corresponded to the direct addition of individual substrate adsorption values. When the humic acid samples were admixed with Na+-form kaolinite or montmorillonite, there was some reduction in adsorption, attributable to component interactions, and this effect was most marked in the presence of Cu and Zn ions.

In alkaline media there was competition between the ability of the organic material to form soluble metal humates and the tendency of the clays to strongly retain the sparingly soluble metal hydroxy species formed at pH > 6. In most systems studied retention by the solid phase predominated.

In the presence of tannic acid there were distinct pH regions in which the four metal ions formed compounds of limited solubility, with the pH for maximum precipitation ranging from 4.5 (Cu) to 7 (Cd). The introduction of clay suspensions increased the amount precipitated/sorbed in these pH regions.

The amount of Cu, Pb, Zn or Cd retained by mixed suspensions varied markedly with pH, nature of the clay and the chemical nature of organic components.

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Hatton, D., Pickering, W.F. The effect of pH on the retention of Cu, Pb, Zu and Cd by clay-humic acid mixtures. Water Air Soil Pollut 14, 13–21 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00291822

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  • Clay
  • Montmorillonite
  • Tannic Acid
  • Humic Acid
  • Kaolinite