Applied Sciences | 2021
Wastewater Treatment Using Alkali-Activated-Based Sorbents Produced from Blast Furnace Slag
Currently, slags from secondary steel production, foundries, and blast furnaces represent a major environmental problem since they end up mainly in landfills, and their valorization would bring undeniable advantages both to environment and economy. Moreover, the removal of heavy metal ions from mines wastewater is one of the challenges of the last decades, and adsorption has been proposed as one of the most promising techniques for this purpose. In this context, the use of alkali-activated slags as sorbent can be a good opportunity to develop low cost, environmentally friendly, and sustainable materials. Accordingly, wastewater decontamination by adsorption over a porous monolithic bed made of alkali-activated hydraulic binders is proposed. Alkali-activated materials were prepared using slags from the metallurgical industry and reacted with an alkaline component (high alumina calcium aluminate cement, CAC 80) at ambient conditions. The obtained monolithic foams were tested to evaluate the uptake efficiency towards metal capture. Solutions containing Cu(II), Fe(III), Ni(II), Mn(II), and simulating the metal concentrations of a real mine effluent were tested, both in single- and multi-ion solutions. Promising capture efficiency, values of 80–100% and of 98–100% in the case of the single ion and of the multi-ion solutions were obtained, respectively.