Heavy metals in the environment are a source of some concern because of their potential reactivity, toxicity, and mobility in the soil. Zeolites have been used as a adsorbents to prevent potentially toxic metal contamination stemming from mining waste disposal. These materials are characterized by a high cation exchange capacity (CEC) and a predominance of negative charges, favoring their potential utilization in metal cation immobilization. It is widely used in laboratory research and industrial applications. Many physical and chemical processes occur at different interfaces. Adsorption process is one of the main and basic surface phenomena. Adsorption is found to occur in many natural physical, biological, and chemical systems. Solid surfaces show strong affinity for heavy metal ions that come in contact with them, and some of them are trapped on the zeolite surface. Therefore, the aim of this study is to compare the sorption capacity of heavy metals Pb, Zn, ets. with zeolite, a low-cost inorganic material traditionally studied and used for this purpose, that in comparison to synthetic ion exchangeable resins, has been sparsely researched. The ability of natural zeolite to adsorb Pb2+ and Zn2+ from single and bi-metallic metal solutions was assessed. In bi-metallic experiments, examining the effect of on the adsorption of concentrations (0–0.45 mmol/dm3) of the other metal (Pb2+ or Zn2+, respectively) adsorption interaction was well modelled by Langmuir and Freundlich linear isotherms (R2 > 0.90; p ≤ 0.001) and Pb was preferentially adsorbed relative to Zn2+. The clynoptylolite was significantly more efficient in retaining Pb. In investigated solutions, the presence of the other ions reduced Pb2+ and Zn2+ adsorption from 0.39 and 0.22 mmol-eq/dm3 to 0.3 and 0.22 mmol-eq/ dm3. In the Pb2+ and Zn2+ binary system adsorption of both the metals decreased in the presence of each compared to the values when they were present as a mono-component solution at similar concentrations. But dominance of Pb was evident in its competition for adsorption sites compared to Zn. These results suggest that zeolite is an effective low-cost adsorbent in heavy metal contamination of environment.
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