An important application of clay is as a solid adsorbent for industrial dyes. The aim of the present work was to carry out an experimental–theoretical study of the adsorption of dye mixtures, namely malachite green (MG) and Congo red (CR), by bentonite. Adsorption studies were conducted after evaluation of the impact of several parameters, including pH, adsorbate dose, and contact time, on the removal of MG and CR. The pH of the dye solution is strongly affected by the chemistry of both the dye molecules and of the adsorbent in an aqueous solution. Where both dye molecules exist in solution, the optimum pH was found to be 8.2 in order to achieve the maximum adsorption of both MG and CR. Preliminary studies showed that 60 min of contact time is sufficient to reach adsorption equilibrium. The adsorption studies were carried out using 1.0 g samples of bentonite. The amount of dye adsorbed was found by application of classical least squares to the synthetic dye mixtures. Data from equilibrium adsorption on bentonite were analyzed by Freundlich, Langmuir, Redlich-Peterson, and Temkin isotherm equations using regression analysis for non-linear forms of those equations. For binary-mixture analysis, isotherm parameters were determined from single-component adsorption studies and the theoretical amount of dye adsorbed was calculated using an extended Langmuir isotherm. Non-linear error analysis showed that the Temkin and Redlich-Peterson isotherms gave the best fits to the equilibrium data for adsorptive removal of MG and CR by bentonite.

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