Influence of physical and chemical properties of solids on heavy metal adsorption

Gunawardana, Chandima Thanuja Kumari (2011) Influence of physical and chemical properties of solids on heavy metal adsorption. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Partition of heavy metals between particulate and dissolve fraction of stormwater primarily depends on the adsorption characteristics of solids particles. Moreover, the bioavailability of heavy metals is also influenced by the adsorption behaviour of solids. However, due to the lack of fundamental knowledge in relation to the heavy metals adsorption processes of road deposited solids, the effectiveness of stormwater management strategies can be limited. The research study focused on the investigation of the physical and chemical parameters of solids on urban road surfaces and, more specifically, on heavy metal adsorption to solids. Due to the complex nature of heavy metal interaction with solids, a substantial database was generated through a series of field investigations and laboratory experiments. The study sites for the build-up pollutant sample collection were selected from four urbanised suburbs located in a major river catchment. Sixteen road sites were selected from these suburbs and represented typical industrial, commercial and residential land uses. Build-up pollutants were collected using a wet and dry vacuum collection technique which was specially designed to improve fine particle collection. Roadside soil samples were also collected from each suburb for comparison with the road surface solids. The collected build-up solids samples were separated into four particle size ranges and tested for a range of physical and chemical parameters. The solids build-up on road surfaces contained a high fraction (70%) of particles smaller than 150ìm, which are favourable for heavy metal adsorption. These solids particles predominantly consist of soil derived minerals which included quartz, albite, microcline, muscovite and chlorite. Additionally, a high percentage of amorphous content was also identified in road deposited solids. In comparing the mineralogical data of surrounding soil and road deposited solids, it was found that about 30% of the solids consisted of particles generated from traffic related activities on road surfaces. Significant difference in mineralogical composition was noted in different particle sizes of build-up solids. Fine solids particles (<150ìm) consisted of a clayey matrix and high amorphous content (in the region of 40%) while coarse particles (>150ìm) consisted of a sandy matrix at all study sites, with about 60% quartz content. Due to these differences in mineralogical components, particles larger than and smaller than 150ìm had significant differences in their specific surface area (SSA) and effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC). These parameters, in turn, exert a significant influence on heavy metal adsorption. Consequently, heavy metal content in >150ìm particles was lower than in the case of fine particles. The particle size range <75ìm had the highest heavy metal content, corresponding with its high clay forming minerals, high organic matter and low quartz content which increased the SSA, ECEC and the presence of Fe, Al and Mn oxides. The clay forming minerals, high organic matter and Fe, Al and Mn oxides create distinct groups of charge sites on solids surfaces and exhibit different adsorption mechanisms and bond strength, between heavy metal elements and charge sites. Therefore, the predominance of these factors in different particle sizes leads to different heavy metal adsorption characteristics. Heavy metals show preference for association with clay forming minerals in fine solids particles, whilst in coarse particles heavy metals preferentially associate with organic matter. Although heavy metal adsorption to amorphous material is very low, the heavy metals embedded in traffic related materials have a potential impact on stormwater quality.Adsorption of heavy metals is not confined to an individual type of charge site in solids, whereas specific heavy metal elements show preference for adsorption to several different types of charge sites in solids. This is attributed to the dearth of preferred binding sites and the inability to reach the preferred binding sites due to competition between different heavy metal species. This confirms that heavy metal adsorption is significantly influenced by the physical and chemical parameters of solids that lead to a heterogeneity of surface charge sites. The research study highlighted the importance of removal of solids particles from stormwater runoff before they enter into receiving waters to reduce the potential risk posed by the bioavailability of heavy metals. The bioavailability of heavy metals not only results from the easily mobile fraction bound to the solids particles, but can also occur as a result of the dissolution of other forms of bonds by chemical changes in stormwater or microbial activity. Due to the diversity in the composition of the different particle sizes of solids and the characteristics and amount of charge sites on the particle surfaces, investigations using bulk solids are not adequate to gain an understanding of the heavy metal adsorption processes of solids particles. Therefore, the investigation of different particle size ranges is recommended for enhancing stormwater quality management practices.

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ID Code: 47312
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Goonetilleke, Sobana, Dawes, Leslie, & Egodawatta, Prasanna
Keywords: adsorption, heavy metals, pollutant build-up, stormwater pollution, stormwater quality, urban water quality
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2011 01:58
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2011 01:58

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