Removal of Cu2+ and Ag+ from aqueous solution on a chemically-carbonized sorbent from date palm leaflets

El Said Ibrahim El-Shafey*, Salma Muhammed Zahran Al-Kindy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A chemically-carbonized sorbent was prepared from date palm leaflets by sulphuric acid treatment at 170°C. Carbonization took place via the dehydration effect of the hot sulphuric acid producing a carbon with reduction property. Sorption of Cu2+ and Ag+ from aqueous solution was investigated in terms of pH, contact time, metal concentration and temperature. A peculiar behaviour was found for the sorption of the two metals on the produced carbon. Sorption of Cu2+ was fast, reaching equilibrium within ∼2 h, whilst Ag+ sorption was slow and required ∼60 h to reach equilibrium. Activation energy (Ea) for Cu2+ sorption was ∼16.1 kJ/mol indicating a diffusion-controlled ion exchange process; however, Ea for Ag+ sorption was ∼44.3 kJ/mol indicating a chemically controlled process. Equilibrium sorption data were tested for the Langmuir and Freundlich equations. Sorption capacity appears to be much higher for Ag+ than for Cu2+ with increased uptake, for both metals, when increasing the temperature (25-45°C). Ag+ was reduced to elemental silver on the sorbent surface and this was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy and x-ray powder diffraction; however, no reduction processes were involved in Cu 2+ sorption. This paper discusses the sorption mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2013


  • carbon
  • reduction
  • sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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