Biomass facilitated phase transformation of natural hematite at high temperatures and sorption of Cd2+ and Cu2+

Shengsen Wang, Mingyue Zhao, Min Zhou, Yiting Zhao, Yuncong C. Li, Bin Gao, Ke Feng, Weiqin Yin, Yong Sik Ok, Xiaozhi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Phase changes of natural hematite are often practiced to improve heavy metal removal and magnetism for easy recycling. In this work, pinewood biomass (PB) and natural hematite (H) admixtures were pyrolyzed at 300, 450 and 600 °C under N2 environment to prepare HBC nanocomposites (HBC300, HBC450 and HBC600). The X-ray diffraction (XRD) confirmed the reductive transformation of hematite (crystallite size ≈ 47 nm) into magnetite (25 nm) and further to wustite (25 nm) and zerovalent iron (48 nm). The Langmuir isotherms showed that the maximum sorption capacities of HBC300, HBC450, and HBC600 were 173, 138, and 130 mmol kg−1 for Cd2+, and 359, 172, and 197 mmol kg−1 for Cu2+, respectively. The higher pH up to 5 increased sorption of both Cd2+ and Cu2+, whereas the higher ionic strength (0.05–0.4 M) decreased Cd2+ sorption. Sorption of Cd2+ and Cu2+ by HBC300 was accompanied by one order of magnitude greater cation release than HBC450 and HBC600. In a binary system, Cd2+ sorption was depressed by over four times in presence of Cu2+. Overall, ion exchange was more pronounced for HBC300, and Cu2+ was more favorably retained by specific sorption than Cd2+. The greater magnetism of HBC nanoparticles favors separation from aqueous solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-481
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar


  • Heavy metals
  • Ion exchange
  • Iron oxide
  • Pyrolysis
  • Reduction
  • Water and wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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