Development of a precipitation based separation scheme for selective removal and recovery of heavy metals from cadmium rich electroplating industry effluents

Islamoglu S., Yilmaz L., Ozbelge H. O.

SEPARATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.41, no.15, pp.3367-3385, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 15
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01496390600851665
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3367-3385
  • Keywords: hydroxide precipitation, sulfide precipitation, heavy metal removal, cadmium, iron, copper, electroplating waste, WASTE-WATER, ADSORPTION, IONS, ZN, CU
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The treatment of electroplating wastes is a serious worldwide problem, because of their high content of many different heavy metals. Chemical precipitation based treatment methods could be an important alternative for fractional selective separation of heavy metals if they are systematically developed by sequencing of pH, adjusting the added portions of precipitating agents, and selecting the optimum time period before removing the precipitate from the solution. In this study, for selective removal and recovery of Cd from real electroplating bath wastewater (containing high amounts of Cd, medium amounts of Zn, Cu, Fe and small amounts of Ni, Co, Mn), a precipitation based separation scheme was developed. The scheme comprised of three consecutive steps: 1) Acid treatment with nitric acid (HNO3). Cyano-metal complexes were decomposed in acidification step and complete removal of iron was achieved. 2) Alkali precipitation by sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Large portion of Cd was recovered as pure Cd(OH)(2). 3) As a polishing step sulfide precipitation by sodium sulfide (Na2S) was applied. pH was the critical parameter in sulfide precipitation. Addition of sodium sulfide in alkali pH range led to cadmium precipitation whereas copper was totally precipitated in acidic pH range. The sulfide precipitation step may be replaced by more environmentally friendly steps (e.g. polymer enhanced ultrafiltration) until the heavy metal concentrations were reduced down to suitable discharge limits.