The uses of zeolites derive from their special properties: They can interact with water to adsorb or release ions (ion exchange); they can selectively adsorb ions that fit the cavities in their structures (molecular sieves). The locally available zeolite samples have been proved to have application in reducing toxic waste and causes driven by environmental concern and energy consumption. Cation-containing zeolites can differentiate molecules on the basis of their electrostatic interactions with the metal ions, size difference, shape and polarity. The adsorption properties of certain specific pore sized zeolites are useful for size selective separation of molecules. The high cation exchange capacity of zeolites as evident from our studies combined with their selective affinity for specific cations make them uniquely suited to various application in disposal of Industrial effluents like Cu, Cr, Co, Zn etc. The heavy metal ions were quantified using atomic absorption spectroscopy before and after the process of adsorption. This promising adsorbent is found to exhibit 90% adsorption efficiency with most of the heavy metals.
Keywords: Heavy metals; adsorption; cation exchange capacity; effluent treatment.