In this study, the nanocomposite adsorbent (ZnS-zeolite NaA) was prepared by a simple ion-exchange method, which modified the zeolite NaA synthesized from fly ash. The removal efficiency, adsorption mechanism of mercury ions by ZnS-zeolite NaA and release of zinc ion into aqueous solution during the adsorption process were determined. The results showed that ZnS nanoclusters were introduced the supercages of zeolite by ion exchange to synthesize the ZnS-zeolite NaA with high removal capacity for Hg2+ in the initial pH 2–7 of solution. Determination of the adsorption kinetics and thermodynamic parameters, in combination with X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy analyses, revealed that the Hg2+ adsorption by ZnS-zeolite NaA was Hg2+ complexed and ion exchanged with ZnS in the ZnS-zeolite NaA to form stable HgS, and then, the released Zn2+ was adsorbed by the zeolite, preventing Zn2+ pollution. The Hg2+ removal rate was greater than 99.90% with the coexistence of either Zn2+ or Cu2+, Cd2+ and Pb2+. After five repetitions, the Hg2+ removal rate by the ZnS-zeolite NaA was only slightly decreased by 2%. Therefore, ZnS-zeolite NaA synthesized using fly ash has potential for broad application as a Hg2+ adsorbent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas