Abstract

In this study, the feasibility of using surfactant-modified palygorskite (PFl-1) and sepiolite (SepSp-1) for removal of anionic contaminants from water was evaluated from batch experiments. The results showed that both minerals had strong affinity for hexadecyltrimethylammonium (HDTMA), a cationic surfactant used for surface modification. The HDTMA sorption capacities were 520 and 260 mmol/kg for PFl-1 and SepSp-1, respectively. Accompanying HDTMA sorption, the sorption of counterion bromide reached 380, and 210 mmol/kg, for PFl-1 and SepSp-1, respectively, indicating that the sorbed surfactant molecules form admicelles on the minerals’ surfaces. After modification by HDTMA to sorption maxima, these clays showed strong affinity for anionic contaminants such as chromate and nitrate. The chromate sorption capacities were 42 and 34 mmol/kg for HDTMA-modified PFl-1 and SepSp-1, respectively. Desorption of counterion bromide due to sorption of chromate followed a straight-line relationship, suggesting that the sorption of chromate on surfactant-modified palygorskite and sepiolite was also due to anion exchange as with other surfactant-modified clay minerals and zeolites.

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