Evaluation of nitrate adsorption from aqueous medium using modified montmorillonites

ABSTRACT This study investigated the efficiency of nitrate removal in aqueous medium using adsorption on commercial montmorillonites compared to an anionic resin widely used in this operation. Some of these clays were intercalated with hexadecyltrimethylammonium ion for this investigation. Specific surface areas, cation exchange capacities and mid-infrared spectra were determined for clays characterization. Preliminary tests indicated that the nanoclay functionalized with aminopropyltriethoxysilane and octadecylamine was the most efficient in nitrate adsorption, although it did not exceed anionic resin in efficiency. Adsorption kinetic and equilibrium of nitrate from aqueous phase on the nanoclay and anionic resin were determined and modeled for comparison, as well as for the selection of representative models and estimation of thermodynamic properties of the studied systems. All experiments were carried out at 25°C and at pH 7. Equilibrium isotherms were also determined at 35 and 45°C. The obtained results show that the adsorption processes studied are physical, spontaneous and favorable for both the resin and the nanoclay, which have very good affinity with nitrate. The most representative models for the systems were the pseudo-second order kinetic model and the Freundlich equilibrium isotherm.