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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Adsorption of Alkaline Earth, Transition, and Heavy Metal Cations by Hydrous Oxide Gels of Iron and Aluminum1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 5, p. 796-799
    Received: Mar 17, 1975
    Accepted: May 26, 1976

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  1. D. G. Kinniburgh,
  2. M. L. Jackson and
  3. J. K. Syers2



Freshly precipitated Fe and Al gels (points of zero change at pH 8.1 and 9.4, respectively) strongly specifically adsorb divalent cations from 1M NaNO3 solution. Adsorption from a mixed solution of eight divalent cations (each 0.125 × 10-3M) in suspensions of freshly precipitated Fe and Al gels (0.093M with respect to Fe or Al) was measured as a function of pH in 1M NaNO3. The selectivity sequence (lower pH = greater selectivity) for the retention of the alkaline earth cations by Fe gel was Ba > Ca > Sr > Mg, but for the Al gel was Mg > Ca > Sr > Ba. The selectivity sequence (Figures in parentheses indicate pH ± 0.2 for 50% retention) for the Fe gel was: Pb (3.1) > Cu(4.4) > Zn(5.4) > Ni(5.6) > Cd(5.8) > Co(6.0) > Sr(7.4) > Mg(7.8), whereas the sequence for the Al gel was: Cu(4.8) > Pb(5.2) > Zn(5.6) > Ni(6.3) > Co(6.5) > Cd(6.6) > Mg(8.1) > Sr(9.2). Significant adsorption occurred even when the extent of cation hydrolysis was much < 1%, and invariably occurred at a pH lower than that for hydroxide precipitation. Although the adsorption-pH sequences are related to cation hydrolysis and hydroxide precipitation pH values, the relationship is far from perfect, as is evidenced by the different sequences for the two gels. On aging of the Al gel in the presence of alkaline earth cations, the retention of Mg increased, while that of Ca, Sr, and Ba decreased. This result was thought to result from the structural incorporation of some Mg and the exclusion of the other cations.

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