Clay-Rice Husk Ash based Geopolymers for Remediation of Pb (II) and Cd (II) from Wastewater
Industrialization and technological advancements have led to generation of various pollutants like heavy metals into the aquatic ecosystem. These toxic compounds are extremely dangerous to human beings and the environment due to their non-biodegradability, severe toxicity, ability to be accumulated and contaminate ground and surface waters. Subsequently, pursuance of sustainable materials and technologies for better attainment of environmental sustainability is critical. This study reports synthesis of geopolymers GP-1, GP-2 and GP-3 prepared by using different clays. Geopolymers were hydrothermally synthesized using clay and rice husks waste as an alumina and silica source respectively. The geopolymers were characterized using Fourier transform-infra red, energy dispersive spectrometry, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope. Batch and gravitational column experiments using Pb (II) and Cd (II) ions were carried out. Increased metal ion uptake was recorded with raised Si/Al ratio of the adsorbents. The mean percentage uptake of 90.23 ± 0.4 and 89.63 ± 0.18 of Pb (II) and Cd (II) were achieved at pH of 4.0 and 5.0 respectively using GP-3. Langmuir, Freundlich and modified Langmuir Freundlich isotherms were used in equilibrium studies. Data for adsorption of Pb (II) and Cd (II) fitted best in modified Langmuir Freundlich model. The highest adsorption capacities of Pb (II) and Cd (II) were 209.9 and 136.2 mg/g respectively, attained using GP-3. Based on the results obtained, geopolymers produced from common clay and rice husk waste displayed promising potential in the removal of heavy metal ions from the aqueous phase. Considering the availability of raw materials for geopolymerization and the high metal ions uptake capacities of geopolymers, they can also be used as adsorbents for removal of heavy metals in industrial wastewater.