In this study, the removal of phosphate (PO4) from wastewater using glauconite was investigated. Glauconite was characterized by N2 adsorption–desorption isotherm, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The effects of contact time, pH, initial phosphate concentrations, adsorbent dose, and temperature were investigated by batch experiments. The isotherms, kinetics and thermodynamics for phosphate removal were studied. The results showed that glauconite had a rough surface and abundant pores. The determined Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area was 55 m2/g with a pore radius of 1.99 nm and the pore volume was 0.032 cm3/g. FTIR analysis revealed that the abundance of various functional groups on the surface of glauconite may play an important role for the adsorption process. The optimum pH was 11 with complete removal of phosphate in a short time (nearly 1 min). The experimental data fitted very well with the Langmuir isotherm (R2 = 0.999) with a maximum adsorption capacity of 32.26 mg/g at 50 °C. Adsorption kinetic data were best fitted with the pseudo-second-order kinetic model (R2 = 0.999). Thermodynamic study confirmed the spontaneous, endothermic and irreversible adsorption process. Therefore, glauconite is a promising natural low-cost adsorbent for phosphate removal from wastewater.

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