Variation in performance of surfactant loading and resulting nitrate removal among four selected natural zeolites

Huade Guan, Erick Bestland, Chuanyu Zhu, Honglin Zhu, Dora Albertsdottir, John Hutson, Craig Simmons, Milena Ginic-Markovic, Xian Tao, Amanda Ellis

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    100 Citations (Scopus)


    Surfactant modified zeolites (SMZs) have the capacity to target various types of water contaminants at relatively low cost and thus are being increasingly considered for use in improving water quality. It is important to know the surfactant loading performance of a zeolite before it is put into application. In this work we compare the loading capacity of a surfactant, hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (HDTMA-Br), onto four natural zeolites obtained from specific locations in the USA, Croatia, China, and Australia. The surfactant loading is examined using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. We then compare the resulting SMZs performance in removing nitrate from water. Results show that TGA is useful to determine the HDTMA loading capacity on natural zeolites. It is also useful to distinguish between a HDTMA bi-layer and a HDTMA mono-layer on the SMZ surface, which has not been previously reported in the literature. TGA results infer that HDTMA (bi-layer) loading decreases in the order of US zeolite > Croatian zeolite > Chinese zeolite > Australian zeolite. This order of loading explains variation in performance of nitrate removal between the four SMZs. The SMZs remove 8-18 times more nitrate than the raw zeolites. SMZs prepared from the selected US and Croatian zeolites were more efficient in nitrate removal than the two zeolites commercially obtained from Australia and China.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)616-621
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


    • HDTMA
    • Nitrate removal
    • Raman spectroscopy
    • Surfactant modified zeolite
    • Thermogravimetric analysis


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