Kaolinite/iron oxide magnetic composites (kaolinite/MCs) were used as adsorbent for the removal of Cd(II) from aqueous solutions. The influences of pH, ionic strength, solid/liquid ratio and temperature on Cd(II) sorption on kaolinite/MCs were evaluated. The results showed that the removal of Cd(II) on kaolinite/MCs was strongly dependent on pH and ionic strength. An optimal kaolinite/MCs concentration mass per volume for removal of Cd(II) from aqueous solutions was 1.4 g L–1. The Langmuir and Freundlich models were used to simulate sorption isotherms of Cd(II) at three different temperatures of 293, 313 and 333 K. The sorption of Cd(II) on kaolinite/MCs increased with increasing temperature, and thermodynamic parameters (standard entropy change, enthalpy change and Gibbs free energy change) illustrated that this sorption process was spontaneous and endothermic. The sorption behaviors of Cd(II) were mainly dependent on surface properties of kaolinite/MCs and solution chemistry conditions. The sorption capacity of Cd(II) on kaolinite/MCs was lower than that on kaolinite, because iron oxide particles decreased surface charge of kaolinite leading to less sorption capacity. Due to high magnetism, kaolinite/MCs could be easily separated with an external magnetic field. Kaolinite/MCs could therefore be used as potential adsorbent for preconcentration and immobilization of Cd(II) ions from large volumes of aqueous solutions.

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