An equilibrium model has been proposed and verified, based on the conditions in the gel phase and Donnan equilibrium theory, for the analysis of the experimental data on the recovery of lead, copper, cadmium, cobalt, nickel and zinc from synthetic, nonmetallic aqueous solutions on calcium alginate gels. This equilibrium model considers that the system behaves as an ion-exchange process between the calcium in the gels and the divalent metals in solution, and that the metallic portion enclosed in gel fluid is supposed an important quantitative contribution to the total amount of metal uptake by gels. According to the equilibrium constants calculated, it is deduced that the selectivity order is: Pb>Cu>Cd>Ni>Zn>Co.

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