Foitite from Linshou mine in China's Hebei province was investigated as an adsorbent to remove Pb(II) and Cu(II) from aqueous solution. The results showed that foitite can readily remove heavy metal ions from aqueous solution. The data shows that the metal uptake for Pb(II) increases rapidly, accounting for 74.47% when contact time was 2 min. In contrast to Pb(II), there was a worse capability for adsorption of Cu(II). In the first 4 min, the metal uptake accounted for 34.7%. According to the analytical results obtained from X-ray diffraction, laser Raman spectrum, X-ray energy dispersive spectrometer, and Zeta potential, the removal mechanism of Pb(II) and Cu(II) by using foitite can be explained as following: firstly, the existence of an electrostatic field around foitite particles can attract heavy metal ions and consequently combine heavy metal ions with OH−; secondly, heavy metal ions in the solution are exchanged with the Fe3+ and Al3+ in the foitite.
Keywords: adsorption mechanism, foitite, heavy metals