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Water Res. 2004 Dec;38(20):4305-12.

Comparison of the ion exchange uptake of ammonium ion onto New Zealand clinoptilolite and mordenite.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand.


In this study the uptake performances of the naturally occurring zeolite, clinoptilolite, and of New Zealand mordenite are compared. The uptake of fully ionised ammonium ion from aqueous solutions in the concentration range 0-200 mg/l on to these two materials was compared. The influence of other cations present in water upon the ammonia uptake was also determined. The cations studied were potassium, calcium and magnesium. In all cases the anionic counterion present was chloride. The results showed that the mordenite exhibited higher overall uptake concentrations at equilibrium compared with clinoptilolite at solution concentrations greater than 80 mg/l. Beyond this value, the difference in solid-phase equilibrium concentrations on the mordenite became greater at higher solution-phase ammonium ion concentrations. The effect of the other cations upon uptake of ammonium ion was relatively small. In all cases, the ammonium ion showed the highest uptake on to both the mordenite and the clinoptilolite. In the case of clinoptilolite this was rather an unexpected result since the majority of other work shows clinoptilolite exhibiting a higher affinity for potassium ion compared with ammonium ion. This may be explained by the fact that the clinoptilolite came from volcanic deposits in New Zealand. This is the first such study on this material. At solution-phase equilibrium concentrations of greater than 80 mg/l, the mordenite showed smaller reductions in ammonium ion uptake in the presence of the other cations when compared with clinoptilolite.

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