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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Influence of Quaternary Ammonium on Sorption of Selected Metal Cations onto Clinoptilolite Zeolite


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 4, p. 1106-1114
    Received: Dec 15, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): li@uwp.edu
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  1. Zhaohui Li *a,
  2. Daniel Alessia and
  3. Lori Allenb
  1. a Chemistry Dep. and Geology Dep., Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha, WI 53141
    b Chemistry Dep., Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha, WI 53141


Clay minerals and zeolites have large cation exchange capacities, which enable them to be modified by cationic surfactant to enhance their sorption of organic and anionic contaminants. In this study, the influence of quaternary ammonium surfactants on sorption of five metal cations (Cs+, Sr2+, La3+, Pb2+, and Zn2+) onto a clinoptilolite zeolite was investigated. Generally, the metal cation sorption capacity and affinity for the zeolite decreased, indicating that presorbed cationic surfactants blocked sorption sites for metal cations, as the surfactant loading on the zeolite increased. Cesium and Pb2+ sorption was affected to a small extent, indicating that selective sorption for Cs+ and specific sorption for Pb2+ play an important role in addition to cation exchange. Sorption of cationic surfactants on zeolite preloaded with different metal cations showed a strong correlation with the chain length of the surfactant tail group, while the roles of the charges and types of the metal cations were minimal. As the chain length increases, the critical micelle concentration decreases and the surfactant molecules become more hydrophobic, resulting in progressive bilayer coverage. Desorption of presorbed metal cations by cationic surfactants was strongly affected by the surfactant chain length and metal type. More metal cations, particularly Sr2+ and Zn2+, desorbed with an increase in surfactant chain length. The results, in combination with those from organic and oxyanion sorption on surfactant-modified zeolite, may be used for future surfactant modification to target sorption and desorption of a specific type of contaminant or a mixture of different types of contaminants.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1106–1114.