Effect of coexisting Al(III) ions on Pb(II) sorption on biochars: Role of pH buffer and competition

Yuxi Yang, Weihua Zhang, Hao Qiu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jean Louis Morel, Rongliang Qiu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In view of uncertain significance of the effects of coexisting Al(III) on Pb(II) sorption by biochars, this study used kenaf core biochar (KB550; high carbon, low ash) and sewage sludge biochar (SB550; low carbon, high ash) pyrolyzed at 550 °C to elucidate the influence of coexisting Al(III) species and biochars’ mineral components on Pb(II) immobilization conducted in aqueous solution with initial pHs of 3.0–4.5. Results showed that Al(III) reduced Pb(II) sorption on KB550 primarily via pH buffering against biochar alkalinity, thus inhibiting lead carbonate formation. In contrast, the reduction on SB550 mainly resulted from direct competition for sorption sites, especially on Fe-rich phengite 2M1and metakaolinite. Because of Pb-P precipitation and Pb-K interlayer exchange, the residual Pb(II) adsorption capacity resistant to coexisting Al(III) was 3–5 times higher on SB550 than on KB550. The Pb-K interlayer exchange was enhanced by lower pH and coexisting Al(III), while Pb-P precipitation was the dominant Pb(II) sorption mechanism on SB550 resistant to Al(III) buffering and competition at higher pH. Application of these two biochars as amendments confirmed that the mineral-rich SB550 was more suitable for Pb(II) immobilization in acidic soils with high levels of extractable Al(III).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-445
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Aluminum ions
  • Biochar
  • Competitive sorption
  • Lead ion
  • Soil remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of coexisting Al(III) ions on Pb(II) sorption on biochars: Role of pH buffer and competition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this