Adsorption kinetics of fluoride on low cost materials

Xianfeng Fan, David Parker, Michael Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

473 Citations (Scopus)


Adsorption is one important technique in fluoride removal from aqueous solutions. The viability of adsorption techniques is greatly dependent on the development of adsorptive materials. A large number of materials have been tested at a fluoride concentration greater than 2 mg/l, and the lowest limit for fluoride reduction by them is about 2 mg/l. Decreasing the fluoride concentration to less than 2 mg/l, most of the tested materials displayed a very low capacity of fluoride removal. This paper has concentrated on investigating the adsorption kinetics and adsorption capacity of low cost materials at a low initial fluoride concentration. The experiments were carried out at a natural pH, and radioisotope 18F rather than 19F was used since 18F can be rapidly measured by measuring the radioactivity with a resolution of 1 x 10(-13)mg or 0.01 microCi. The tested materials are hydroxyapatite, fluorspar, calcite, quartz and quartz activated by ferric ions. Their adsorption capacities follow the order: Hydroxyapatite>Fluorspar>Quartz activated using ferric ions>Calcite>Quartz. The uptake of fluoride on hydroxyapatite is an ion-exchange procedure and follows the pseudo-first- and second-order equations, while the uptake of fluoride on the others is a surface adsorption and follows the pseudo-second-order equation. Calcite has been seen as a good adsorbent in fluoride removal and has been patented. However, our data suggested that its adsorption capacity is only better than quartz. The external mass transfer is a very slow and rate-determining step during fluoride removal from the aqueous solution. Under static conditions, there was no relative movement between adsorbents and solutions, the fluoride uptake was at a very slow rate and the adsorbent properties did not significantly affect the fluoride uptake. Under shaken conditions, the adsorption of fluoride was controlled by the adsorbent structure and chemical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4929-37
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003


  • hydroxyapatite
  • fluorspar
  • fluoride
  • adsorption kinetics
  • quartz
  • calcite


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