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Heavy Metal Removal from Wastewater using Novel Adsorbent

Kaakani, Manal
A Master of Science thesis in Civil Engineering by Manal Kaakani entitled, "Heavy Metal Removal from Wastewater using Novel Adsorbent," submitted in January 2012. Thesis advisor is Dr. Maruf Mortula. Available are both soft and hard copies of the thesis.
Heavy metals, when in abundance, can be very toxic to the medium in which it is dissolved. Adsorption has been used as a suitable water treatment process to remove heavy metals. Many studies have been conducted to remove these heavy metals by using different materials. Different materials have different chemical constitutes, hence, a material that is very effective in removing one heavy metal may prove to have a poor efficiency in adsorbing, or removing, another metal. For this research, palm leaves were used as the adsorbent to remove Copper, Chromium, and Zinc from wastewater. The synthetic wastewater was produced in the laboratory to conduct the experiments. Batch tests were conducted to obtain the optimal materials and conditions combinations. The fixed bed column experiments were then followed, as they simulate the filtration process which is the most commonly used in treatment plants for adsorption. Batch tests were conducted to assess the performance of copper removal via adsorption. Different conditions were tested for and included pH, Co, and adsorbent dosage. Results have used Freundlich and Langmuir equations to fit the experimental data so that kinetics of the process can be obtained. It was also shown that Freundlich isotherm was better able to fit the linearized data points than Langmuir with Copper and Zinc, however, neither isotherm was very successful with Chromium. It was concluded that each metal has its own optimal condition that is not fitted with the other metals, although, all conditions produced positive results. Desorption tests confirmed the reusability of the metals and the adsorbent as recovery was sufficient in some places more than others. Further investigations may need to be performed to obtain results on different parameters, adsorbent particle size, contact time, agitation speed, and temperature, etc.
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