A novel sinusoidal alternating current coagulation (SACC) technique was used to remove the Zn2+ from wastewater in the present study. The response surface methodology was used to analyze the effect of current density, time, initial pH and initial Zn2+ concentration in order to obtain the optimum removal efficiency and to lower energy consumption. The results show that SACC with a current density of 0.31 A·m−2 applied to treat wastewater containing 120 mg·dm−3 Zn2+ at pH = 9 for 21.3 min can achieve a removal efficiency of Zn2+ of 98.80%, and the energy consumption is 1.147 kWh·m−3. The main component of flocs produced in SACC process is Fe5O7OH·4H2O (HFO). Large specific surface area and good adsorption performance of HFO are demonstrated. There is strong interaction between Zn2+ and HFO. Zn2+ is adsorbed and trapped by HFO and then co-precipitated. Freundlich adsorption isotherm model and pseudo-second order kinetics model explained the Zn2+ adsorption behavior well. The Zn2+ adsorption on HFO is an endothermic and spontaneous process.

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