Ferric antimonate, a cation-exchanger, has been investigated as an adsorbent for the removal of phenol and polyhydric phenols from aqueous solution. It has been found that ferric antimonate in H+ form selectively adsorbs polyhydric phenols having hydroxyl groups on adjacent
positions. While phenol, resorcinol, and quinol did not show any appreciable adsorption, catechol, pyrogallol, and gallic acid having hydroxyl groups on adjacent positions exhibited considerable adsorption on ferric antimonate. Batch equilibrium experiments were carried out to study the effect
of contact time, initial concentration of phenolic compounds, and temperature on the adsorption of phenolic compounds on ferric antimonate. The equilibrium time was found to be 1.5 hours for gallic acid and pyrogallol and 2 hours for catechol and salicylic acid. The adsorption data
of the phenols at temperatures of 30°, 40°, and 50 °C have been described by Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models. The best fit was obtained with the Langmuir model in the whole range of concentrations studied at all temperatures, indicating a monolayer adsorption onto a homogeneous
adsorption surface. On the basis of the Langmuir isotherm, the maximum adsorption capacity of ferric antimonate for gallic acid, pyrogallol, catechol, and salicylic acid was found to be 3.915, 3.734, 2.397, and 2.758 mg/g, respectively at 30 °C. The maximum sorption capacity of ferric
antimonate for the phenolic compounds studied is in the following order: gallic acid > pyrogallol > salicylic acid > catechol. The adsorption of phenolic compounds was found to decrease with an increase in temperature. Thermodynamic parameters like free energy, enthalpy, and entropy
changes were calculated and discussed. The adsorption of polyhydric phenols on ferric antimonate is exothermic and spontaneous in nature.
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