Boron removal by electrocoagulation: Removal mechanism, adsorption models and factors influencing removal.

Affiliation

Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 66045, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Boron (B), normally present in ground water and sea water, is a vital micronutrient for plants, but is also toxic in excessive amounts. Under typical conditions, aqueous boron is present as boric acid (H3BO3), which is uncharged, making B particularly challenging to remove by mechanisms commonly applicable to removal of trace constituents. Adsorption of B onto aluminum hydroxide solids (Al(OH)3(s)) generated using aluminum-based electrocoagulation (EC) is a promising strategy for B removal. Infrared spectroscopy analysis indicated complexation of B(OH)3 with aluminum hydroxide solids via surface hydroxyl groups, while X-ray and infrared spectroscopy results indicated that the structure of the Al(OH)3(s) was influenced both by EC operating conditions and by water quality. A linear adsorption model predicted B removal well when initial concentrations were lower than 50 mg/L, but fit the experimental data poorly at higher initial B concentrations. The Langmuir adsorption model provided a good fit for a broader range of initial B concentrations (5-1000 mg/L). Factors affecting B adsorption during the EC process, including current intensity, Al dissolution rate, boron concentration, pH, and total dissolved solid (TDS), were investigated. Increasing current intensity initially led to a higher Al dissolution rate, and therefore higher B adsorption, but there was a limit, as further increases in current intensity caused rapid formation of Al(OH)3(s) having a large particle size and a low capacity to complex B. Boron removal decreased as its concentration increased. The best removal of B occurred at pH 8, corresponding to a slightly positive zeta potential for aluminum hydroxide and a small but significant fraction of negatively charged B species. Higher TDS concentrations facilitated the use of higher current intensities, i.e., the limit on the effective Al dissolution rate increased with increasing TDS. Two real water samples (river water and oilfield produced water) spiked with B were treated using EC, resulting in up to 50% B removal from river water (C0 = 10 mg/L, current = 0.2 A) in 2 h, and 80% B removal from produced water (C0 = 50 mg/L, current = 1.0 A) in 2 h.

Keywords

Adsorption model,Aluminum hydroxide,Boron removal,Electrocoagulation,Surface complex,

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