Removal of Cadmium and Lead Ions from Aqueous Solution by Nanocrystalline Magnetite Through Mechanochemical Activation

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Advanced Magnetic Materials Research Center, School of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, faculty of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 School of Metallurgy & Materials Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), Tehran, Iran.


In this study, the removal of cadmium and lead ions from aqueous solution by nanocrystalline magnetite was investigated. The nanocrystalline magnetite was synthesized by mechanochemical activation of hematite in a high energy planetary mill in argon atmosphere for 45 hours. The ability of the synthesized nanocrystalline magnetite for removal of Cd(II) and Pb(II) from aqueous solutions was studied in a batch reactor under different experimental conditions with different pHs, contact times, initial metal ion concentrations and temperatures. The solution’s pH was found to be a key factor in the adsorption of heavy metal ions on Fe3O4. The optimum pH of the solution for adsorption of Cd(II) and Pb(II) from aqueous solutions was found to be 6.5 and 5.5, respectively. The best models to describe the kinetics and isotherms of single adsorption were both the pseudo first and second-order kinetic models and Langmuir models, respectively, indicating the monolayer chemisorption of Cd(II) and Pb(II) on Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Moreover, the thermodynamic parameters (i.e., ∆H°, ∆S°, ∆G°) were evaluated which indicated that the adsorption was spontaneous and exothermic. The results suggested that the synthesized material (magnetite nanocrystalline particles) may be used as effective and economic absorbent for removal of Cd(II) and Pb(II) from aqueous solutions.


1. Fu F, Wang Q. Removal of heavy metal ions from wastewaters: a review. Journal of Environmental Management. 2011;92(3):407-18.
2. Esalah JO, Weber ME, Vera JH. Removal of lead, cadmium and zinc from aqueous solutions by precipitation with sodium Di‐(n‐octyl) phosphinate. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. 2000;78(5):948-54.
3. An HK, Park BY, Kim DS. Crab shell for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solution. Water Research. 2001;35(15):3551-6.
4. Kumar KY, Muralidhara HB, Nayaka YA, Balasubramanyam J, Hanumanthappa H. Hierarchically assembled mesoporous ZnO nanorods for the removal of lead and cadmium by using differential pulse anodic stripping voltammetric method. Powder Technology. 2013;239:208-16.
5. Mahmood T, Saddique MT, Naeem A, Mustafa S, Dilara B, Raza ZA. Cation exchange removal of Cd from aqueous solution by NiO. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2011;185(2):824-8.
6. Xiong C, Wang W, Tan F, Luo F, Chen J, Qiao X. Investigation on the efficiency and mechanism of Cd (II) and Pb (II) removal from aqueous solutions using MgO nanoparticles. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2015;299:664-74.
7. Olowoyo DN, Garuba AO. Adsorption of Cadmium Ions using activated carbon prepared from Coconut shell. Global Advanced Reearch Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2012;1(6):81-4.
8. Futalan CM, Kan CC, Dalida ML, Hsien KJ, Pascua C, Wan MW. Comparative and competitive adsorption of copper, lead, and nickel using chitosan immobilized on bentonite. Carbohydrate Polymers. 2011;83(2):528-36.
9. Zhu Y, Hu J, Wang J. Competitive adsorption of Pb (II), Cu (II) and Zn (II) onto xanthate-modified magnetic chitosan. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2012;221:155-61.
10. Feng L, Cao M, Ma X, Zhu Y, Hu C. Superparamagnetic high-surface-area Fe3O4 nanoparticles as adsorbents for arsenic removal. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2012;217:439-46.
11. Shan C, Ma Z, Tong M. Efficient removal of trace antimony (III) through adsorption by hematite modified magnetic nanoparticles. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2014;268:229-36.
12. Roy A, Bhattacharya J. Removal of Cu (II), Zn (II) and Pb (II) from water using microwave-assisted synthesized maghemite nanotubes. Chemical Engineering Journal. 2012;211:493-500.
13. Ngomsik AF, Bee A, Draye M, Cote G, Cabuil V. Magnetic nano-and microparticles for metal removal and environmental applications: a review. Comptes Rendus Chimie. 2005;8(6):963-70.
14. Karami H. Heavy metal removal from water by magnetite nanorods. Chemical Engineering Journal. 2013;219:209-16.
15. Morillo D, Pérez G, Valiente M. Efficient arsenic (V) and arsenic (III) removal from acidic solutions with Novel Forager Sponge-loaded superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 2015;453:132-41.
16. Zdujić M, Jovalekić Č, Karanović L, Mitrić M, Poleti D, Skala D. Mechanochemical treatment of α-Fe2O3 powder in air atmosphere. Materials Science and Engineering: A. 1998;245(1):109-17.
17. Zdujić M, Jovalekić Č, Karanović L, Mitrić M. The ball milling induced transformation of α-Fe2O3 powder in air and oxygen atmosphere. Materials Science and Engineering: A. 1999;262(1):204-13.
18. Nassar NN. Rapid removal and recovery of Pb (II) from wastewater by magnetic nanoadsorbents. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2010;184(1):538-46.
19. Ngah WW, Fatinathan S. Adsorption characterization of Pb (II) and Cu (II) ions onto chitosan-tripolyphosphate beads: kinetic, equilibrium and thermodynamic studies. Journal of Environmental Management. 2010;91(4):958-69.
20. Cheknane B, Zermane F, Baudu M, Bouras O, Basly JP. Sorption of basic dyes onto granulated pillared clays: Thermodynamic and kinetic studies. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 2012;381(1):158-63.
21. Liu X, Zhang L. Removal of phosphate anions using the modified chitosan beads: adsorption kinetic, isotherm and mechanism studies. Powder Technology. 2015;277:112-9.
22. Vijaya Y, Popuri SR, Boddu VM, Krishnaiah A. Modified chitosan and calcium alginate biopolymer sorbents for removal of nickel (II) through adsorption. Carbohydrate Polymers. 2008;72(2):261-71.
23. Kamari A, Ngah WW. Isotherm, kinetic and thermodynamic studies of lead and copper uptake by H2SO4 modified chitosan. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 2009;73(2):257-66.
24. Al-Haidary AM, Zanganah FH, Al-Azawi SR, Khalili FI, Al-Dujaili AH. A study on using date palm fibers and leaf base of palm as adsorbents for Pb (II) ions from its aqueous solution. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 2011;214(1-4):73-82.
25. Meena AK, Kadirvelu K, Mishraa GK, Rajagopal C, Nagar PN. Adsorption of Pb (II) and Cd (II) metal ions from aqueous solutions by mustard husk. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2008;150(3):619-25.
26. Mehta D, Mazumdar S, Singh SK. Magnetic adsorbents for the treatment of water/wastewater—a review. Journal of Water Process Engineering. 2015;7:244-65.
27. Yanagisawa H, Matsumoto Y, Machida M. Adsorption of Zn (II) and Cd (II) ions onto magnesium and activated carbon composite in aqueous solution. Applied Surface Science. 2010;256(6):1619-23.
28. Sheng G, Wang S, Hu J, Lu Y, Li J, Dong Y, Wang X. Adsorption of Pb (II) on diatomite as affected via aqueous solution chemistry and temperature. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 2009;339(1):159-66.
29. Duan S, Tang R, Xue Z, Zhang X, Zhao Y, Zhang W, Zhang J, Wang B, Zeng S, Sun D. Effective removal of Pb (II) using magnetic Co0.6Fe2.4O4 micro-particles as the adsorbent: Synthesis and study on the kinetic and thermodynamic behaviors for its adsorption. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 2015;469:211-23.
30. Boparai HK, Joseph M, O’Carroll DM. Kinetics and thermodynamics of cadmium ion removal by adsorption onto nano zerovalent iron particles. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2011;186(1):458-65.
31. Jiang MQ, Jin XY, Lu XQ, Chen ZL. Adsorption of Pb (II), Cd (II), Ni (II) and Cu (II) onto natural kaolinite clay. Desalination. 2010;252(1):33-9.
32. Komárek M, Koretsky CM, Stephen KJ, Alessi DS, Chrastny V. Competitive Adsorption of Cd (II), Cr (VI), and Pb (II) onto Nanomaghemite: A Spectroscopic and Modeling Approach. Environmental Science & Technology. 2015;49(21):12851-9.