Multicomponent adsorption of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn onto date palm pits based granular activated carbon (GAC) augmented with highly active natural clay at different proportion was investigated. The effects of the initial pH and the adsorbents mixed ratio on the removal selectivity sequence of the metals evaluated. Batch adsorption experiments were undertaken at initial pH 2, 6 and 12. At initial pH 2, both the percent removal and the metals adsorptive capacity decreased with increasing GAC to clay ratio (from 0 to 1) with the percentage removal of Cd, Zn and Cr ions dropping from 68, 81, 100% to 43, 57 and 70%, respectively. At both pH 6 and 12, the percentage removals and adsorption capacities of all the heavy metal ions are higher than at pH 2. Selectivity sequences for pH 2, 6 and 12 followed the order Pb > Cr > Cu > Zn > Cd; Pb > Cr > Cu > Cd > Zn and Cd > Cr > Cu > Pb > Zn, respectively. The adsorption trends were analyzed in relation to point of zero charge and ξ-potential and the metals ions speciation at different pH. These results will help better understand the feasibility of augmenting GAC with natural clay minerals during fixed bed column test which is more beneficial for practical industrial applications.

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