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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 5, p. 1457-1463
    Received: Jan 30, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): li@uwp.edu
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Oxyanion Sorption and Surface Anion Exchange by Surfactant-Modified Clay Minerals

  1. Zhaohui Li *
  1. Geology Dep. and Chemistry Dep., Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI 53141.



In this study the sorption of nitrate (NO3) and chromate (CrO2−4) from aqueous solution by surfactant-modified clay minerals was investigated. Both the sorption and desorption of oxyanions were found to follow a Langmuir sorption isotherm. In general, the sorption affinity is higher for chromate than for nitrate, reflecting that the interaction between the divalent anions and the surfactant bilayer is stronger than that between the monovalent anions and the surfactant bilayer. Surfactant-modified kaolinite has a higher sorption capacity for chromate. The sorption capacities for chromate and nitrate are equal for surfactant-modified illite while the sorption capacity for nitrate is higher for surfactant-modified smectite. Desorption by water revealed that chromate sorption was irreversible, while nitrate sorption was slightly reversible. In a mixed solution system, nitrate and chromate compete for the same sorption sites, resulting in a decrease in sorption capacity for each anion. Stoichiometric counterion desorption due to chromate and/or nitrate sorption further confirms that sorption of oxyanions by surfactant-modified clay minerals was due to surface anion exchange. The selectivity coefficients were higher for chromate to replace bromide than for nitrate to replace bromide for surfactant-modified kaolinite, but lower when surfactant-modified illite and smectite were the anion exchangers. The results indicate that surfactant-modified clay minerals are effective sorbents to remove anionic contaminants from water. However, the types of clay minerals should be correctly selected to maximize the contaminant removal efficiency.

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