Batch and Column Studies on Nickle and Cadmium Removal Using Iranian Clay-based Geopolymer

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Civil Engineering, Sirjan University of Technology, Sirjan, Iran


The production rate of industrial and agricultural waste is increasing due to population growth. Soil is the most important receiver of industrial and agricultural waste. Contaminants such as heavy metals in various waste after reception by the soil, immediately become part of the cycle that has different impacts on the environment. Geopolymer, as a chemical stabilizer has the potential to stabilize heavy metals in the soil. In this research, several geopolymers for the stabilization of heavy metals in soil were synthesized. Silicon dioxide (SiO2) and aluminosilicate (Al2SiO4) must be used to produce the geopolymers. Rice husk ash was used as the SiO2 source. Also, Iranian zeolite and sepiolite, and red clay soil were utilized as the source of Al2SiO4. The synthesized geopolymers were investigated for the adsorption of nickel and cadmium. Also, batch and column studies of using geopolymers for the chemical stabilization of heavy metals in soil were conducted. The results revealed a high adsorption capacity of the geopolymers. The zeolite, sepiolite, and red clay geopolymer-soil samples adsorbed 100% of the heavy metals (i.e., Ni and Cd) at a concentration of 100 ppm. The zeolite geopolymer adsorbent adsorbed 57% and 96% of Ni and Cd at a concentration of 1000 ppm, respectively. In general, it was concluded that the use of geopolymer compounds in soils with high heavy metal adsorption capacity could be an efficient approach to prevent groundwater resource pollution.


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