Removal of Zn(II) and Hg(II) from aqueous solution on a carbonaceous sorbent chemically prepared from rice husk

E. I. El-Shafey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)


A carbonaceous sorbent was prepared from rice husk via sulfuric acid treatment. Sorption of Zn(II) and Hg(II) from aqueous solution was studied varying time, pH, metal concentration, temperature and sorbent status (wet and dry). Zn(II) sorption was found fast reaching equilibrium within ∼2 h while Hg(II) sorption was slow reaching equilibrium within ∼120 h with better performance for the wet sorbent than for the dry. Kinetics data for both metals were found to follow pseudo-second order model. Sorption rate of both metals was enhanced with temperature rise. Activation energy, Ea, for Zn(II) sorption, was ∼13.0 kJ/mol indicating a diffusion-controlled process ion exchange process, however, for Hg(II) sorption, Ea was ∼54 kJ/mol indicating a chemically controlled process. Sorption of both metals was low at low pH and increased with pH increase. Sorption was much higher for Hg(II) than for Zn(II) with higher uptake for both metals by rising the temperature. Hg(II) was reduced to Hg(I) on the sorbent surface. This was confirmed from the identification of Hg2Cl2 deposits on the sorbent surface by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. However, no redox processes were observed in Zn(II) sorption. Sorption mechanism is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2010


  • Hg(II)
  • Ion exchange
  • Reduction
  • Rice husk
  • Sorption
  • Zn(II)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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