Investigation of kinetics and mechanism involved in the biosorption of heavy metals on activated sludge

A. V.Ajay Kumar, Saleh Al Hashimi, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An investigation has been undertaken to determine the removal of heavy metals (Cd2+, Cu2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+) of high environmental priority due to their toxicity from dilute aqueous solutions by biosorption using inexpensive biomaterials like activated sludge. Activated sludge is used widely in water treatment plants and is easily available. Each experiment was performed over a period of time to determine the biosorption of heavy metals from the aqueous phase to the solid phase. The maximum sorption uptake of the studied metal ions by activated sludge showed the following order: Cd2+ ≥ Cu2+ ≥ Ni2+ ≥ Zn2+. The pseudo first- and second-order kinetic models were used to describe the kinetic data. The experimental data fit with the second-order kinetic model very well. The type of mechanism involved is analyzed in terms of the intraparticle diffusion model. Other models are also reviewed. Quantification of metal-biomass interactions, nature of adsorption, kinetics, ion-exchange as well as models used to characterize activated sludge biosorption are reviewed. All solutions are analyzed using inductively coupled plasma (ICP).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Green Energy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Biosorption
  • Heavy metals
  • Inductively coupled plasma
  • Intraparticle diffusion
  • Ion exchange
  • Pseudo first order
  • Pseudo second order

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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