Thiol groups of adsorbent surfaces offer strong affinities for heavy metal ions, such as Hg(II), Pb(II), Cd(II), and so on. In this study, thiol group was impregnated to activated carbon by a series of treatments of oxidation and chlorination followed by 1,2-ethanedithiol introduction in order to investigate the adsorption properties of Cd(II) in aqueous solution. Batch sorption experiments were carried out to study kinetics, and the effect of Mg(II) and different pH conditions on Cd(II) sorption. Sequential extraction experiments were performed to understand binding characteristics. In general, thiol-functionalization improved the removal of Cd(II) by activated carbon in aqueous solution. Compared to untreated activated carbon, over a factor of four of the maximum sorption capacity enhancement was achieved. The presence of Mg(II) interfered Cd(II) sorption, but the degree of the sorption interference was alleviated significantly. Cd(II) sorption occurred more rapidly due to more involvement of ion exhchange by thiol- functionalization.

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