Assessing the Use of Alkali-Activated Steel Slag in the Removal of Heavy Metal Ions From Wastewater

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The release of wastewater containing heavy metals into the environment poses a huge threat to human health and the aquatic environment at large. In order to remove heavy metals from wastewater, adsorption methods are commonly utilized. This study investigated the effectiveness of alkali-activated steel slag in the removal of removal of heavy metals from wastewater. The research involved the characterization of wastewater samples to identify target heavy metals and their initial concentrations, steel slag characterization, alkali activation of the steel slag and the determination of the maximum adsorption capacity through batch adsorption experiments. The mean heavy metal concentrations determined were 0.43 𝑚𝑔/𝑙 for Lead (Pb) and 0.01 𝑚𝑔/𝑙 for Copper (Cu). XRF analysis of the steel slag showed it was made up of several oxides with Silicon Dioxide having the largest percentage. The maximum adsorption capacity determined was 78.99𝑚𝑔/𝑔. Based on the determined adsorption capacity, breakthrough curve data, and desired flow rate, a fixed-bed adsorption tank was designed to optimize the removal of heavy metals from wastewater streams on a larger scale. This research demonstrated the potential of activated steel slag as a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach for heavy metal removal from wastewater.