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Simultaneous Removal of Divalent Heavy Metals from Aqueous Solutions Using Raw and Mechanochemically Treated Interstratified Montmorillonite/Kaolinite Clay

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  • Waste Treatment
  • Divalent Heavy Metals
  • Aqueous Solutions
  • Montmorillonite-Kaolinite Clay
  • Mechanochemistry
  • Chemistry


The removal of Pb(II), Cd(II), Cu(II), and Zn(II) from aqueous solutions using (un)modified Serbian interstratified montmorillonite/kaolinite clay as an adsorbent was investigated. The clay was modified by mechanochemical activation for different time periods. X-ray diffraction patterns and particle size distributions were used to characterize the samples. Batch adsorption studies were conducted to optimize various conditions. The adsorption equilibrium was established within 60 min, and the maximum adsorption occurred in the pH range of 4.5–6.5. The milled clays exhibited greater equilibrium adsorption capacities (qe) for all of the metals than the raw clay. A difference in qe values for clays milled for 2 and 19 h could be observed only for initial concentrations (Ci) of ≥100 mg dm–3. This was related to the amorphization (i.e., exfoliation) of 19-h-milled clay particles. The adsorption equilibrium data of heavy metals on both raw and modified clays fit the Langmuir equation, although there were changes in the microstructure of the clay. The mechanochemical treatment of the clay reduced the amount of adsorbent necessary to achieve a highly efficient removal of heavy metals by a factor of 5. Thus, the mechanochemically treated interstratified clay can be considered as an efficient adsorbent for the simultaneous removal of divalent heavy metals.

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