Improved removal capacity and equilibrium time of maghemite nanoparticles growth in zeolite type 5a for pb(Ii) adsorption

Juan A. Ramos-Guivar, Katterine Taipe, Miguel Angelo Schettino, Eloi Silva, Marco Antonio Morales Torres, Edson Caetano Passamani, Fred Jochen Litterst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Novel magnetic zeolite type 5A nanocomposites were synthesized by the co-precipitation method and applied to lead removal from aqueous ambient. Maghemite nanoparticles were mixed with zeolite and, by controlling its content, transmission electron microscopy results gave sizes of 5 to 15 nm and selected area electron diffraction patterns confirmed the presence of zeolite. The nanocomposites have high specific surface area with values up to 194 m2/g. Magnetization measurements proved superparamagnetic behavior with saturation values of ~35 emu/gFe. Kinetic adsorption experiments showed removal efficiencies of 99.9% and an enhanced equilibrium time of 5 min. The lead concentrations after adsorption experiments lay under the permissible levels of 10 µg L−1, according to the World Health Organization. The maximum adsorption capacity, estimated by Sips model, was 265 mg L−1 at 300 K. The removal efficiency was significantly improved in the range of pH > 6, as well as in the presence of cation interferents such as Ca(II), Cu(II), and Cd(II). The adsorption mechanism was explained with cation exchange between Pb(II), the zeolite framework, and the protonated maghemite surface. Besides, our system revealed recyclability even after seven regeneration cycles. Thus, our synthesized materials have remarkable adsorption properties for lead water remediation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1668
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The authors thank the following institutions for financial support: National University of San Marcos, CONCYTEC, FAPES, CAPES, CNPq, and UFES.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Lead removal
  • Maghemite
  • Water treatment
  • Zeolite type 5A


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