A combined flocculant (CAFS) was prepared with Al2(SO4)3·18H2O, FeSO4·7H2O and starch. The flocculation mechanism of reactive brilliant red X-3B was studied. The results showed that CAFS was a cationic polymeric flocculant with high charge density, and its mesh starch chains grafted polyaluminum and polyferrous. At the preliminary stage, the main flocculation mechanism was adsorption and charge neutralization. At a later stage, the high molecular weight and flexible linear chains of CAFS initiated bridge-aggregation and sweep-flocculation. Moreover, the zeta potential and dynamic changes of flocs were closely related to flocculant dosages and the pH. The optimum dosage of CAFS and pH value were 0.990 mg/L and 5.0. Taken together, these results suggested CAFS as a novel flocculant in water treatment, with good results for the studied conditions.

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