Adsorption mechanism of Zn2+, Ni2+, Cd2+, and Cu2+ ions by carbon-based adsorbents: interpretation of the adsorption isotherms via physical modelling

Abstract

A theoretical physicochemical and thermodynamic investigation of the adsorption of heavy metals Zn2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Cu2+on carbon-based adsorbents was performed with statistical physics fundaments. Particularly, the experimental adsorption isotherms of heavy metal removal, at 30°C and pH 5, using adsorbents obtained from the pyrolysis of three biomasses (cauliflower cores, broccoli stalks, and coconut shell) were modelled and interpreted with a homogeneous statistical physics adsorption model. Calculations indicated that the heavy metal adsorption with these carbon-based materials was a multi-ionic process where several ions interact simultaneously with the same carboxylic functional group on the adsorbent surface. Adsorption capacities for these metal ions and adsorbents were correlated with electronegativity theory, which established that the adsorbate with the highest electronegativity was more readily adsorbed by the carboxylic functional groups available on the adsorbent surfaces. Also, the chemical compositions of biomass precursors explained achieved adsorption capacities for these metallic ions. The best adsorbent for heavy metal removal was obtained from CC biomass pyrolysis. Calculated adsorption energies for heavy metal removal could be associated with physisorption-type forces. Finally, the adsorption mechanism analysis was complemented with the determination of adsorption thermodynamic functions using the statistical physics.

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All co-authors (Fatma Dhaouadi, Lotfi Sellaoui, Hilda Elizabeth Reynel-Ávila, Verónica Landín-Sandoval, Didilia I. Mendoza-Castillo, José Enrique Jaime-Leal, Eder Claudio Lima, Adrián Bonilla-Petriciolet, Abdelmottaleb Ben Lamine) contributed in all parts of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lotfi Sellaoui or Abdelmottaleb Ben Lamine.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 3 HSPAM adjustable parameters for the adsorption of Zn2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Cu2+ ions on adsorbents obtained from the pyrolysis of broccoli stalks (BS), cauliflower cores (CC), and coconut shells (CS) are given below. These parameters correspond to the heavy metal adsorption at pH 5 and 30°C.
Fig. 9
figure9

For illustration, the fitting data results of the experimental isotherms of Zn2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Cu2+ions on carbon-based adsorbents are reported in the next figures:

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Dhaouadi, F., Sellaoui, L., Reynel-Ávila, H.E. et al. Adsorption mechanism of Zn2+, Ni2+, Cd2+, and Cu2+ ions by carbon-based adsorbents: interpretation of the adsorption isotherms via physical modelling. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12832-x

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Keywords

  • Adsorption
  • Heavy metals
  • Carbon-based adsorbents
  • Homogeneous statistical physics adsorption model
  • Carboxylic functional group