Polymer Science Faculty Research

Arsenic uptake by hydroxyapatite in the presence of Fe (II)

Nita Sahai, The University of Akron


We have examined As(III) and As(V) uptake by hydroxyapatite (HAP) in the absence and presence of the commonly occurring geochemical species, Fe(II), in a system open to the atmosphere and at near-neutral pH. The immediate goal of our project is to develop an inexpensive, efficient remediation method for the acute As contamination problem in well-waters of Bangladesh and Eastern India. Our study also provide a conceptual model system for understanding cation, neutral species and anion uptake by a class of minerals (apatites) capable of multiple substitutions, the effect of co-ions on metal(loid) uptake and the geochemically ubiquitous, but relatively poorly-understood, process of coprecipitation. Batch experiments on HAP suspensions, equilibrated for 24 hours, indicate that As(III) and As(V) uptake is slightly greater in the presence of HAP compared to the control experiment. The addition of Fe(II) significantly improves As(III) and As(V) uptake from solutions, both, without and with HAP suspensions. Analyses of equilibrated solutions and High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy of solids formed suggest that precipitation of amorphous FePO4.nH2O nanoparticles (10-20 nm) is mainly responsible for As removal with additional uptake by HAP. The efficiency of the process suggests the potential for an effective remediation strategy of As-contaminated drinking water after it has been withdrawn from the affected well.