IWA Publishing

Chemically activated cow bone for increased fluoride removal from drinking water


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Thermally activated cow bone is widely utilized for treating fluoride impacted drinking water to meet the World Health Organization guideline value of 1.5 mg/L. However, the fluoride removal capacity of bone char is low, leaving room for further improvement. This study, therefore, strives to improve the fluoride adsorption capacity of cow bone by using chemical activation in place of thermal activation. Chemically activated cow bones (CABs) had, on average, a four-fold higher fluoride adsorption capacity than bone char. Characterization of the most effective CAB were made to explore potential reasons for the increased fluoride adsorption capacity. The X-ray diffraction pattern of the CAB showed formation of bassanite and monetite minerals which may be responsible for the higher fluoride adsorption capacity. Chemical activation is also a lower-cost production process than the thermal activation of cow bone. Further, a higher mass of media was recovered per unit mass of starting material during chemical activation. Therefore, this research shows that increased fluoride removal capacity can be achieved with chemical activation of cow bone while reducing activation costs and greatly increasing product yield per unit mass of starting material, all of which support further evaluation and field testing of this material.

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