Heavy metals are continuously contaminating the surface and subsurface water. The adsorption process is an attractive alternative for removing the heavy metals because of its low cost, simple operation, high efficiency, and flexible design. In this study, influences of β-zeolite and Cu-modified β-zeolite on preparation of granular activated carbons (GACs) from a composite of powder activated carbon (PAC), methylcellulose as organic binder, bentonite as inorganic binder, and water were investigated. A number of granular samples were prepared by controlling the weight percentage of binder materials, PAC and zeolites as a reinforcing adsorbent. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and X-ray diffraction techniques were employed to characterize zeolite, modified zeolite and produced GAC. The produced GACs were used as the adsorbent for removal of Zn+2, Cd2+ and Pb2+ ions from aqueous solutions. The results indicated that the adsorption of metals ions depended on the pH (5.5) and contact time (30 min). Maximum adsorption of 97.6% for Pb2+, 95.9% for Cd2+ and 91.1% for Zn+2 occurred with a new kind of GAC made of Cu-modified β-zeolite. The Zn+2, Cd2+ and Pb2+ ions sorption kinetics data were well described by a pseudo-second order model for all sorbents. The Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models were applied to analyze the experimental equilibrium data.

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