Ho, Y.S. (1995), Adsorption of heavy metals from waste streams by peat. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, U.K.

Abstract:

Adsorption of heavy metal ions (e.g. copper, nickel and lead) onto sphagnum moss peat was investigated.  The influence of pH, concentration, temperature, nature of solute, number of solutes simultaneously present, peat dose and reaction time on batch adsorption equilibria and kinetics tests were examined.

Batch adsorption of copper and nickel onto peat was pH dependent, the optimum range being 4.0 to 5.0 for copper and 4.0 to 7.0 for nickel.  Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms showed a single relationship between initial metal concentration, metal removal, and initial pH.  The latter was found to control efficiency of metal removal.

The use of peat in removal of lead from aqueous solution was studied in batch experiments.  Investigations included the effect of pH and temperature of adsorption.  The adsorption equilibria data followed Langmuir and Freundlich models.  Efficiency of lead removal depended very little on the reaction temperatures (12 to 37°C) and initial pH values (4.0 to 6.0).  The results suggested that the adsorption process is endothermic for lead-peat adsorption.

Kinetic data suggested involvement of a chemical rate-limiting step, and a predictive relationship was derived relating metal removal to peat dose.  In comparison with other metals, nickel removal is poor, and possible reasons are discussed.  Kinetic results also indicated that pore diffusion is not the only rate determining step in peat metal adsorption.

A rate equation is described for the study of the kinetics of adsorption of aqueous divalent metal ions onto sphagnum moss peat for a range of conditions.  An empirical model was devised for predicting percentage metal ion adsorbed.  The model showed a high coefficient of correlation, indicating its reasonableness.

The last section describes the results of an examination into the simultaneous adsorption by peat of several metals.  Initially copper and nickel from both single- and bi-solute systems were tested.  In general, pore diffusion appeared to be the rate-controlling step.  The effects of competitive adsorption in batch systems for copper and nickel system was also studied in various ratios of metal concentration.  A mathematical model was used successfully and shown to be predictive for various ratio of metal ions concentration in competitive adsorption.  The dose effect on the uptake of metals on moss peat was also studied for bi-solute adsorption systems.  The best interpretation which could be placed on the data was that the behaviour of nickel was unusual.  The results also showed that the kinetics of adsorption were best described by a second-order expression rather than a first-order model.  For metal ions which are of different size but are divalent metal ions, we used lead(II) and copper(II) as well as lead(II) and nickel(II) systems.  The effects of competitive adsorption in batch systems indicated that copper had a greater effect on lead adsorption than did nickel.  However, lead had a greater effect on nickel than copper.

A copper, lead and nickel triple-solute system was also tested.  The adsorption of any single metal such as copper, lead and nickel was hindered by the presence of the other metals.  The competitive effect appears to have affected the three ions in the order nickel > lead > copper with nickel affected most; the adsorption capacity for each solute from the mixed solution was 15.9, 57.4 and 71.5% of that of a single-solute system for copper, lead and nickel, respectively.  The kinetic results showed that the heavy metals are adsorbed fairly rapidly, and that there is a relatively good fit between experimental data and the second order model for copper, lead and nickel.