Diffuse layer modeling on iron oxides : single and multi-solute systems on ferrihydrite and granular ferric hydroxide

Stokes, Shannon Nicole
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Diffuse Layer Modeling was used to describe single and multi-solute adsorption of Pb(II), Cu(II), Zn(II) and Cd(II) to ferrihydrite and As(V), V(V) Si and Ca(II) on granular ferric hydroxide, a commercially available iron oxide. Macroscopic data were used in conjunction with x-ray adsorption spectroscopy (XAS) data to evaluate the diffuse layer surface complexation model (DLM) for predicting sorption over a range of conditions. A self-consistent database was created for each of the adsorbents. The DLM provided excellent fits to the single solute data for the ferrihydrite system with the incorporation of spectroscopic evidence. Little competition was seen in the bisolute systems, except under very high coverages. While the DLM captured the lack of competition under low and medium coverages, competitive effects were not adequately modeled by the updated DLM for high coverages. Challenges remain in adequately describing metal removal when sorption may not be the primary mechanism of removal. The capabilities of the DLM were then evaluated for describing and predicting multisolute sorption to granular ferric hydroxide (GFH). The model can adequately describe anion competition, but the electrostatic effects due to outer sphere sorption were overpredicted, leading to an inadequate model fit for As(V) and Ca²⁺ systems. Despite the limitations of the DLM, it may be an appropriate compromise between goodness of fit and number of parameters for future integration into dynamic transport models and thermodynamic databases.