Efficient chromium removal from aqueous solutions by precipitate flotation using rhamnolipid biosurfactants
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Department of Mining Engineering, Higher Education Complex of Zarand, Zarand, Iran
Vahideh Shojaei   

Mining Engineering Department, Higher Education Complex of Zarand, Daneshjoo Blvd., 7618693395 Zarand, Iran
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2018;54(3):1014–1025
In the present research study, the efficient removal of hexavalent chromium from aqueous solutions by precipitate flotation method was investigated. The experiments were carried out with the use of ferrous sulfate as a precipitating agent for chromium and rhamnolipid bio surfactant (RL) as a precipitate collector. The effects of rhamnolipid and co-precipitate concentrations, aeration rate, solution pH, and salt addition on the chromium removal were studied using a full factorial design. The chromium removal and water recovery to foam products were analyzed as process responses. Statistical analyses showed that the effects of all factors on the chromium removal followed a non-linear trend with a peak at the middle level. After the process optimization, the maximum chromium removal of 96.75±0.3% was obtained at pH value of 8, RL/Cr ratio of 0.01, Fe/Cr ratio of 3, and aeration rate of 50 cm3/min. Addition of salt with different cationic and anionic groups negatively influenced the removal efficiency. Kinetic studies suggested that the process of chromium removal by the precipitate flotation followed the first-order process with a rate constant of about 0.018 sec-1. Given the good removal capacity and kinetics, rhamnolipid biosurfactants can be a promising environmental-friendly bio collector for the removal of chromium ions from aqueous solutions.
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