• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 3 (2021)

Adsorption of Strontium from an Aqueous Solution by TiO2-Pillared Zeolite

Adsorption of Strontium from an Aqueous Solution by TiO2-Pillared Zeolite

Title: Adsorption of Strontium from an Aqueous Solution by TiO2-Pillared Zeolite
Kris Tri Basuki, Muni Fatuzzahroh, Dhita Ariyanti, Andri Saputra

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Cite this article as:
Basuki, K.T., Fatuzzahroh, M., Ariyanti, D., Saputra, A., 2021. Adsorption of Strontium from an Aqueous Solution by TiO2-Pillared Zeolite. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(3), pp. 625-634

Kris Tri Basuki Department of Nuclear Chemical Engineering, STTN-BATAN, Jl. Babarsari, Yogyakarta 55821, Indonesia
Muni Fatuzzahroh Department of Nuclear Chemical Engineering, STTN-BATAN, Jl. Babarsari, Yogyakarta 55821, Indonesia
Dhita Ariyanti Department of Nuclear Chemical Engineering, STTN-BATAN, Jl. Babarsari, Yogyakarta 55821, Indonesia
Andri Saputra Politeknik ATK Yogyakarta, Jl. Prof. Dr. Wirdjono Prodjodikoro, Bantul, Yogyakarta 55188, Indonesia
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Adsorption of Strontium from an Aqueous Solution by TiO2-Pillared Zeolite

Strontium is a heavy metal that is commonly found in many groundwater systems because of migration from historic nuclear waste storage sites. Its radiation effect can cause bone cancer, tumors, and leukemia. An economical and the most effective method to remove heavy metals from aqueous solutions is adsorption. In this study, we synthesized a TiO2-pillared zeolite to improve the adsorption efficiency of the zeolite. The TiO2-pillared zeolite was synthesized via the pillarization process. Adsorbent characterization was done using X-ray powder diffraction, which showed that TiO2 was successfully pillared. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy showed a shift in the peak at a wavenumber of 3425.70 cm?1, which can be attributed to the addition of TiO2. A parameter study conducted using a batch experiment showed that optimal strontium adsorption took place at pH 5 and contact time of 80 min. The Freundlich adsorption isotherm fitted the experimental data well, illustrating the adsorption of strontium as being non-ideal, reversible, and multilayer adsorption that occurs on the heterogeneous surface of the TiO2-pillared zeolite. A thermodynamic study indicated that strontium adsorption on the TiO2-pillared zeolite was an endothermic process, takes place spontaneously, and is quite stable.

Adsorption; Strontium; Titanium dioxide; Zeolite


In Indonesia, nuclear technology usage has increased in the fields such as agriculture, advanced materials, food, nuclear medicine, and industrial manufacturing. However, this has resulted in an increase in radioactive waste. Toxicological and radiological effects caused by radioactive wastewater on human health and the ecosystem are serious concerns. Radioactive wastewaters commonly contain strontium, which is a pure beta emitter, has a half-life of 28.8 years, and is commonly found in groundwater systems near nuclear storage sites (Pathak, 2017). Strontium enters the human body through ingestion, and its radiation effects include bone cancer, tumors, and leukemia (Herhady et al., 2003). Because of its high radiological toxicity and relatively long half-life, strontium removal from aqueous solutions is of great interest.

    Strontium removal has been attempted using membrane separation, ion exchange, chemical precipitation, and adsorption. For low-strength wastewaters, in particular, most of these processes are inefficient and expensive (especially ion exchange) (Hasan et al., 2019). In contrast, adsorption has been proven to be effective in reducing the concentration Research on strontium adsorption has been carried out using several adsorbents, such polyacrylonitrile(PAN)-zeolite (Yusan and Erenturk, 2011), Ca-alginate (Song et al., 2013), SBA-15 (Zhang et al., 2015), Chitosan-Fuller’s earth beads (Hasan et al., 2019), and K2Ti4O9 (Lee et al., 2018).

      Adsorption using zeolites is a promising method. Their ion exchange capacity, selectivity (Taamneh and Sharadqah, 2016), chemical stability, low cost (Abdel-Rahman et al., 2011), and high adsorption capacity (Hong, et al., 2018, Sudibandriyo and Putri, 2020) allow zeolites to have a high adsorption performance. Research on strontium adsorption using PAN-zeolite composites has been conducted by Yusan and Erenturk (2011), but the adsorption capacity (strontium uptake) was very low (0.011 mg strontium / g adsorbent). Efforts to increase the zeolite's adsorption capacity were taken by pillaring the zeolite with certain compounds, such as TiO2. TiO2 nanoparticles perform well as adsorbents as evidenced from previous studies for the absorption of tellurium (Zhang et al., 2010), chromium (VI) (Ren et al., 2017), and copper (II) (Thahir et al., 2018). This study aims to synthesize and characterize the TiO2-pillared zeolite and evaluate its adsorption capacity for strontium adsorption. The change in the interlayer distance or basal spacing in the TiO2-pillared zeolite was determined using X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to determine the effect of adding TiO2 on the bonds in the zeolite structure. A batch experiment was conducted to evaluate the adsorption capacity. Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption isotherms and thermodynamic studies were implemented to comprehensively understand the adsorption process.


    The zeolite was successfully pillared by TiO2. Diffraction angle 2? peaks of TiO2 were found at 25.33°, 36.7°, 47.9°, and 54.9°. The FTIR spectra showed that the shift at wavenumber 3425.70 cm?1 occurs due to the addition of TiO2. Based on the batch experiment results, the best parameters for strontium adsorption were found to be pH 5 and contact time of 80 min. The adsorption of strontium by the TiO2-pillared zeolite is defined as adsorption on a heterogeneous surface and as being non-ideal, reversible, and multilayer adsorption. Although the adsorption capacity is low, the thermodynamic study indicated that the adsorption of strontium onto TiO2 pillared zeolite was an endothermic process that takes place spontaneously and is quite stable. For future work, the adsorption capacity needs to be increased, which can be accomplished by reducing the size of the pillared TiO2 to allow more area for strontium to be absorbed.


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