Abstract

Iron (Fe), zirconium (Zr) and titanium (Ti) oxides nanoparticles were each embedded onto a weak acid chelating resin for support using the precipitation method to generate three hybrid adsorbents of hydrated Fe oxide (HFO-P), hydrated Zr oxide (HZO-P) and hydrated Ti oxide (HTO-P). This paper reports on the characterization, performance and potential of these generated nanoadsorbents in the removal of toxic metal ions from acid mine drainage (AMD). The optimum contact time, adsorbent dose and pH for aluminium (Al) (III) adsorption were established using the batch equilibrium technique. The metal levels were measured using inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. The scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy results confirmed the presence of the metal oxides within the hybrid resin beads. HFO-P, HZO-P and HTO-P adsorbed Al(III) rapidly from synthetic water with maximum adsorption capacities of 54.04, 58.36 and 40.10 mg/g, respectively, at initial pH 1.80 ± 0.02. The adsorption of Al(III) is of the second-order in nature (R2 > 0.98). The nanosorbents removed ten selected metals from environmental AMD and the metal removal efficiency was in the order HTO-P > HZO-P > HFO-P. All three hybrid nanosorbents can be used to remove metals from AMD; the choice would be dependent on the pH of the water to be treated.

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