The present work was aimed at evaluating the multi-metals column adsorption of lead(II), cadmium(II) and manganese(II) ions onto natural bentonite. The bentonite clay adsorbent was characterized for physical and chemical properties using X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface area and cation exchange capacity. The column performance was evaluated using adsorbent bed height of 5.0 cm, with varying influent concentrations (10 mg/L and 50 mg/L) and flow rates (1.4 mL/min and 2.4 mL/min). The result shows that the breakthrough time for all metal ions ranged from 50 to 480 minutes. The maximum adsorption capacity was obtained at initial concentration of 10 mg/L and flow rate of 1.4 mL/min, with 2.22 mg/g of lead(II), 1.71 mg/g of cadmium(II) and 0.37 mg/g of manganese(II). The order of metal ions removal by natural bentonite is lead(II) > cadmium(II) > manganese(II). The sorption performance and the dynamic behaviour of the column were predicted using Adams–Bohart, Thomas, and Yoon–Nelson models. The linear regression analysis demonstrated that the Thomas and Yoon–Nelson models fitted well with the column adsorption data for all metal ions. The natural bentonite was effective for the treatment of wastewater laden with multi-metals, and the process parameters obtained from this work can be used at the industrial scale.

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