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The ability of lateritic soils to remove fluoride from water has been studied. Important issues considered in the study include the relation between the mineral composition of soils and their ability to remove fluoride, the effect of thermal treatment of the soil on fluoride removal; the predominant fluoride containing species remain in the treated water and the possible mechanism of fluoride removal by lateritic soils. The fluoride removal capacity of thermally treated lateritic soils used in this study is in the range of 22 to 47 mmol/kg. The maximum capacity of 47 mmol/kg was obtained for RGS fired at 500oC. The results obtained indicate that there is strong correlation between fluoride removal capacity and gibbsite content of the soil. From this it can be concluded that gibbsite is the active component in lateritic soils that strongly influence the fluoride removal capability. Speciation analysis reveals that at low initial fluoride concentrations the dissolution of gibbsite is facilitated by the adsorption of fluoride onto gibbsite. This may result in the formation of aluminum fluoro complexes in water.
KEY WORDS: Fluoride removal, Laterite soils, Speciation analysis, Adsorption capacity, Thermal treatment
Bull. Chem. Soc. Ethiop. 2012, 26(3), 361-372.