Revealing the effect of preparation parameters on zeolite adsorption performance for low and medium concentrations of ammonium

Wenyan He , Hui Gong , Kuo Fang , Fei Peng , Kaijun Wang


Received March 11, 2019,Revised , Accepted May 20, 2019, Available online June 07, 2019

Volume 31,2019,Pages 177-188

The effect of preparation parameters on the performance of zeolite for ammonium (20–300 mg N/L) adsorption from simulated wastewater is reported. It was found that the ratios of Na2O/SiO2 and Si/Al had a more important influence than crystallization time on zeolite adsorption properties. Relatively low Na2O/SiO2 ratios were beneficial for fabrication of zeolites with high proportions of micropore area and volume, which led to the surface adsorption mechanism being dominated by surface free energy and pore effects. However, with decreasing Si/Al ratios, the effect of ion-exchange was more prominent due to the high negative surface potential of zeolite. In addition, the concentration of weak acid sites on the zeolites was increased with lower ratios of Na2O/SiO2 and Si/Al, which may promote ammonium removal. Therefore, the most effective zeolite for ammonium removal, which was fabricated at Na2O/SiO2 = 1.375, Si/Al = 4 and crystallization time of 48 hr, exhibited the cooperative effects of adsorption, ion-exchange and a large amount of weak acid sites. The maximum ammonium adsorption capacity (35.06 ± 0.98 mg/g) and the removal efficiency (94.44% ± 4.00%) were obtained at the dosage of 4.0 g/L zeolite NaX at ammonium concentrations of 300 mg N/L and 20 mg N/L, respectively. The Freundlich isotherm and pseudo-first-order kinetics models provided excellent fitting for the ammonium adsorption process. In addition, zeolite NaX showed about 1.23–3.2 times the ammonium adsorption capacity of clinoptilolite. The stable and efficient reusability of zeolite NaX after five regeneration cycles demonstrated that this adsorbent has considerable potential for practical industrial applications.

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