Adsorption of Cadmium onto Sand-Attapulgite Cutoff Wall Backfill Media

Wenbing Zhang, Wenbo Rao, Lei Li, Mark L. Brusseau, Ye Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The adsorption of Cd by sand-attapulgite cutoff wall backfill media was investigated with batch experiments for different quantities of attapulgite in the mixture (30%, 40%, 60%, and 100%; dry weight). The adsorption capacity of the media for Cd increased with the increase of attapulgite content (Ap). The change of adsorbed amount (qt) with time (t) exhibited two-stage behavior, with more than 80% of the final qt attained in the first 30 min of the experiments. The Elovich equation was the most suitable for describing the adsorption kinetics of Cd by the sand-attapulgite media. The isotherm data were best fit by the Freundlich equation. Analysis of the results indicates that cation exchange was the major adsorption mechanism. The theoretical maximum adsorption capacities (qm) of the sand-attapulgite media for Cd calculated by the Langmuir isotherm model are 6311 mg/kg (Ap = 30%), 6437 mg/kg (Ap = 40%), 6534 mg/kg (Ap = 60%), and 7034 mg/kg (Ap = 100%). The removal percentage (RP) and the distribution coefficient (Kd) of Cd decreased with the increase of the initial Cd concentration (C0) in the solution. An empirical equation for predicting Kd in terms of Ap and C0 was developed: log(Kd) = − 1.22log(C0) + 0.71Ap + 4.17 (r2 = 0.924). This equation can be used to estimate the distribution coefficient of Cd for sand-attapulgite backfill media. This will provide valuable parameters for the study of Cd transport in the sand-attapulgite cutoff wall media, and for the design of such systems for management of landfill leachate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Attapulgite
  • Cadmium
  • Distribution coefficient
  • Sand-attapulgite cutoff wall backfill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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