In the present study ion exchange of Pb(2+), Cu(2+), Fe(3+), and Cr(3+) on natural Greek clinoptilolite was examined in terms of selectivity toward the above heavy metals in single- and multicomponent solutions in batch systems. Also examined are the influence of clinoptilolite on solution acidity and the effect of acidity on the ion exchange process. Clinoptilolite increases solution acidity due to the exchange of H(+) cations with the cations initially present in its structure. H(+) cations should be considered as competitive ones in ion exchange processes, and consequently ion exchange of metals is favored at high acidity values. Cu(2+) and Cr(3+) are the most sensitive cations with respect to acidity. Selectivity determination demonstrates that the selectivity at total concentration 0.01 N and acidity 2 in both single- and multicomponent solutions is following the order Pb(2+)>Fe(3+)>Cr(3+) > or =Cu(2+). This order is set since the first days of equilibration. However, Cu(2+) shows remarkable changes in selectivity and generally its uptake and selectivity are increasing with time. On the other hand selectivity in single metal solutions where acidity is not adjusted is following the order Pb(2+)>Cr(3+)>Fe(3+) congruent with Cu(2+).
- heavy metals
- ion exchange