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Role of Chelating Agents of a New Generation in Sorption of Metal Ions

D. Kołodyńska1, M. Siek2, M. Gęca3, Z. Hubicki4

Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Maria Curie Skłodowska

University, Maria Curie Skłodowska Sq.2, 20-031 Lublin, POLAND,,,,

The comparison of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+ sorption in the presence of MGDA
on the strongly basic anion exchanger Amberjet 4400 was studied. As previously stated the
complexones of new generation such as IDS N-(1,2-dicarboxyethylene)-D,L-asparagine
acid, EDDS ethylenediaminedisuccinic acid, GLDA N,N-bis(carboxylmethyl)-L-glutamic
acid and MGDA methylglycinediacetic acid influence on the effectiveness of sorption of
heavy metal ions on different ion exchangers. Determination the effect of different chemical
conditions on the ion exchange capacity and on the kinetics of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and
Cd2+ permitted for optimalization of heavy metal ions removal. Among others, the effects
of the phase contact time, pH, concentration of the solutions and temperature were studied.
The most representative isotherm model to describe complexes sorption and the mathemat-
ical models describing kinetics of sorption were proposed.
Key words: Heavy metals, chelating agents, ion exchange, biodegradation, methyl-
glycinediacetic acid

Introduction tion capacity of chelating agents plays an

Large quantities of heavy metals important role in the distribution of transi-
released into the natural environment have tion metals in the aquatic environment and
resulted in a number of environmental prob- in their remobilizing from the sediments.
lems. Such pollutants are not biodegradable, Moreover, the negative side of the chelating
accumulate in nature and in specific limits agents such as EDTA (ethylenediaminete-
cause various diseases and disorders traacetic acid), DTPA (diethylenetriamine-
(Friberg, 2009; Hubicki et al. 1999). Classi- pentaacetic acid), or HEDTA ((hydrox-
cal techniques of heavy metal removal from yethyl)ethylenediaminetri- acetic acid) is
solutions include such processes like precip- their low biodegradability. Chelates have
itation, electrolytic methods, ion exchange, also been implicated in eutrophication in
evaporation and adsorption. Among these natural systems (Sykora et al. 2001; Fuer-
methods ion exchange receives considerable hacker, 2003; Munn et al. 2004).
interest with high efficiency and low opera- Lately more attention has been paid to
tional costs. The main advantages of ion the complexing agents of new generation
exchange over chemical precipitation are characterized by much better biodegradabili-
recovery of metal value, selectivity, less ty (Knepper, 2003). In this group a great
sludge volume produced and meeting of attention is paid to:
strict discharge specifications. Among the IDS N-(1,2-dicarboxyethylene)-D,L-
materials used in ion exchange processes, asparagine acid, EDDS ethylenediaminedis-
synthetic resins are commonly preferred as uccinic acid, GLDA N,N-bis(carboxylmethyl)-
they are effective and inexpensive. In litera- L-glutamic acid and MGDA methylglycinedi-
ture, there have been various investigations acetic acid (Kołodyńska, 2010). Their structur-
about removal of heavy metals by ion al formulae are presented below:
exchange resins. However, the presence of
the complexing agents in waste solutions
enhances the difficulty of removing heavy
metals, such as copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel,
cadmium and lead. Therefore, it is of impor-
tance taking into account the growth in the
use of the chelating agents in different
branches of industry and agriculture. It
should be stressed that the complex forma-

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So far the influence of the above-men- sorption (mg/L), V is the volume of the solu-
tioned complexones on the effectiveness of tion used for sorption (L), and m is the mass
heavy metal ion sorption was tested for the of the dry resin (g).
strongly, weakly and medium basic poly- The breakthrough curves were deter-
styrene anion exchangers as well as the mined using 10 mL of the swollen anion
chelating ion exchangers (Kołodyńska et al. exchanger. The prepared solutions of com-
2008; Kołodyńska, 2009a; Kołodyńska, plexed metal ions were passed continuously
2009b; Kołodyńska 2010). It was found that downwards through the resin beds keeping
the sorption depends on the type of chelating the flow rate at 0.6 mL/cm2min. The efflu-
agent used, the kind of ion exchanger as well ent was collected in fractions to determine
as on the external conditions such as con- the M2+ content by the AAS method.
centration, pH, time of the treatment, inter-
fering ion presence. In the case of anion Results and Discussion
exchanger the sorption mechanism is ion The heavy metal complexes
exchange whereas for chelating ion exchang- The removal of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+
ers both ion exchange and chelation of metal and Cd2+ in the presence of organic ligands
ions take place. occurs mainly due to formation of negative
In the presented paper the evaluation complexes between the ligand and the metal
of the effects of the phase contact time, pH, ion, which interact with the ionized func-
temperature, concentration of the solutions, tional groups of the ion exchanger. In the
and regenerating agent on the ion exchange case of the chelating ion exchangers such as
capacity and the kinetics of Cu2+, Zn2+, Purolite S 920, Purolite S 930, Lewatit TP
Ni2+ and Cd2+ in the presence of MGDA 208, Diphonix or Dowex M 4195 sorption of
on Amberjet 4400 were studied. simple metal ions takes place. Therefore, the
main parameter which affects their sorption
Materials and Methods is the value of the stability constant of the
The strongly basic anion exchanger appropriate complexes.
Amberjet 4400 (Rohm and Haas, France) The complexation of IDS, DS, EDDS,
proposed for many water treatment applica- GLDA and MGDA is characterized by the
tions, the total anion exchange capacity of formation of stable 1:1 metal to ligand com-
1.40 meq/mL, the particle size of 0.58 +/- plexes as the major species according to the
0.05 mm, the thermal stability up to 333 K reaction:
was used. CuCl2 2H2O, ZnCl2, NiCl2 Mm+ + L4- = [ML](4-m)- . (2),
6H2O, Cd(NO3)2 were used as sources of where L=iDS, EDDS and GLDA,
Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+. MGDA Mm+ + L3-= [ML](3-m)- .. (3),
(BASF, Germany) was used to react with where L=MGDA.
appropriate solutions of these metal ions at The stability constants for the forma-
pH without adjustment. The stock solution tion of metal complexes can be defined as:
was further diluted to the required experi- Kn=[MHn-1L ][H+]/[M][HnL] (4),
mental concentration. The other chemicals where M is the metal concentration; L
used were of analytical grade. The adsorp- is the acid ligand concentration and MHn-1L
tion performance of metal ions on a selected is the metal organic complex concentration.
anion exchanger was investigated by batch The stability constants are as follows: for
and column tests. 250 mg of resins were sus- Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+ complexes
pended in 25 mL solution in flasks, which with IDS: 13.1; 10.8; 12.2; 8.4, respectively.
were placed in the thermostatic shaker. At a For EDDS 13.1; 13.4; 16.7; 16.4, GLDA
desired temperature, the flasks were shaken 13.1; 10.0; 10.9; 9.1 and MGDA 13.9; 11.0;
for 2 h, which proved to be enough to reach 12.0, not available, respectively.
sorption equilibrium. The solutions were fil- The effect of the phase contact time
trated, and the concentrations of metal ions Fig. 1 shows the example of the studies
in the filtrate were determined by the AAS concerning the effect of the phase contact
method. The sorption capacity was calculat- time on the sorption capacity of Amberjet
ed by the following equation: 4400 towards Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and
q=(c0-ce)V/m (1), Cd2+ in the presence of MGDA. The sorp-
where: q is the adsorption capacity tion capacities of metal complexes increase
[mg/g], c0 is the initial concentration of solu- by increasing the phase contact time during
tion (mg/L), ce is the concentration after the first 1 h, and then they are on the whole

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constant. In general, the three main steps

involved in metal ions removal on a selected
anion exchanger can be distinguished: the
transport of the complexes from the solution
to the anion exchanger surface; sorption on
the surface and transport within the anion
exchanger. Because the sorption is a chemi-
cal process, the second step is fast. Also the
transport within the anion exchange matrix
is rapid, which indicates that the metal com-
plexes interact with functional groups of the
anion exchangers. The maximum sorption Figure 2. The effect of concentration on
capacities were found for Cd2+ and the min- sorption of Cu2+ in the presence of MGDA
imum was for Ni2+. The sorption values on Amberjet 4400.
depend on the metal ion in questions and
follow the order: The effect of pH
Cd2+>Cu2+>Zn2+>Ni2+. This obser- Due to the protonation and deprotona-
vation is in agreement with the stability con- tion of the functional groups of the ion
stants presented above. As follows from the exchangers the sorption behaviour for metal
kinetic analysis the sorption can be reported ions is influenced by the pH values. For
as the pseudo second order kinetic process. strongly basic anion exchangers the sorption
Therefore the following ion exchange reac- efficiency is almost constant, whereas for
tion can be proposed: medium and weakly basic ones is higher at
2R-N+(CH3)3Cl-+[ML]2-= low pH. In the case of chelating ion exchang-
R-N+(CH3)3]2[ML]2-+2Cl- (5) ers the effect of pH is neglectable. Therefore,
in the case of Amberjet 4400 the test was
limited to the pH range from 1.0 to 12.0 (Fig. 3).
The sorption capacities of metal complexes
in question increase by increasing pH values
within the studied range. At pH 1 only in the
case of Ni2+ complexes sorption capacity
reached the maximum value. At pH 2.0-6.0
for all metal complexes sorption capacities
reached different values depending on the
nature of metal ion used and the sorption
follows the order:
Figure 1. The effect of the phase contact Cd2+>Zn2+>Ni2+>Cu2+.
time on sorption of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and
Cd2+ in the presence of MGDA on Amber-
jet 4400.

The effect of concentration

Fig. 2 presents the effect of different
metal ion concentrations on the sorption
capacity. It was shown that in the range from
1 min. to 2 h the sorption capacity increases
with the increasing concentration of copper
complexes with MGDA from 1x10-3 M to
7x10-3 M. The similar effect was observed in Figure 3. The effect of pH on sorption of
the case of other complexes. Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+ in the pres-
The sorption parameters (qe,cal) ence of MGDA on Amberjet 4400.
obtained from the Langmuir equation for the
studied complexes of copper, zinc, nickel The effect of temperature
and cadmium are equal to: 26.3 mg/g, 21.9 As follows from Fig. 4 the sorption of
mg/g, 18.6 mg/g and 94.3 mg/g, respectively. metal complexes decreases by increasing
These values are almost in agreement with the temperature from 293 K to 333 K at the
the experimental sorption capacities (qe,exp). optimum treatment time 2 h. This can be

15th ICHMET 109


explained in terms of higher stability of interesting to use for the economic treatment
formed chelates at lower temperatures as of effluent containing the above-mentioned
generally observed for low molecular weight metal ions. The obtained affinity for Amberjet
complexes. 4400 can be explained in terms of the differ-
ences between the metal ions in questions
with respect to relative atomic size, metal ions
charge density and reactivity as well as the
ability for metal complexes to interact with the
quaternary ammonium functional groups of
the anion exchanger connected with the stabil-
ity constant of these complexes.

Friberg L. Handbook of the toxicology
of metals, Academic Press, 2007.
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Figure 4. The effect of temperature on sorp- Emission factors and sources of ethylenedi-
tion of Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+ in the aminetetraacetic acid in waste water-a case
presence of MGDA on Amberjet 4400. study. Chemosphere 2003; 52:253-257.
Hubicki Z, Jakowicz A, Łodyga A. Appli-
The column studies cations of the ion-exchange method to remove
Based on the calculated values of the metallic ions from waters and sewages. In:
mass (Dg) and volume (DV) distribution Adsorption and its Applications in Industry and
coefficients as well as the working (Cw) ion Environmental Protection. Studies in Surface
exchange capacities it was found that the Science and Catalysis, Vol. 120, ed. A. Dąbrows-
affinity order of the studied complexes ki, Elsevier, Amsterdam, New York 1999.
towards Amberjet 4400 is as follows: Knepper TP. Synthetic chelating
Cd2+>Cu2+>Zn2+>Ni2+. agents and compounds exhibiting complex-
The obtained results are in agreement ing properties in the aquatic environment.
with those obtained from the batch studies. Trends Anal. Chem. 2003; 22:708-724.
The breakthrough curves of Cu2+, Zn2+, Kołodyńska D, Hubicki Z, Gęca M.
Ni2+ and Cd2+ complexes with MGDA on Application of a new generation complexing
Amberjet 4400 are presented in Fig. 5. agent in removal of heavy metal ions from
aqueous solutions. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res.
2008; 47: 3192-3199.
Kołodyńska D, Hubicka H, Hubicki Z.
Studies of application of monodisperse
anion exchangers in sorption of heavy metal
complexes with IDS. Desalination 2009a,
D. Kołodyńska, Żywice chelatujące w proce-
sie usuwania jonów metali ciężkich w obecności
czynnika kompleksującego z wód i ścieków,
Przem. Chem. 2009b, 88; 182-189 (in Polish).
Figure 5. The breakthrough curves of Cu2+, Kołodyńska D. Diphonix Resin® in
Zn2+, Ni2+ and Cd2+ in the presence of sorption of heavy metal ions in the presence
MGDA on Amberjet 4400. of biodegradable complexing agents of a new
generation. Chem. Eng. J. 2010; 159:27-36.
Conclusions Munn SJ, Allanou R, Aschberger K,
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pH, treatment time and temperature. It was acid (EDTA), 2004; 49:1-144.
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Cd2+>Cu2+>Zn2+>Ni2+. It would be 35:2010-2016.
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