Fluoride Action Network

Removal of fluoride from groundwater using natural clay (kaolinite): Optimization of adsorption conditions

Source: Comptes Rendus Chimie 22(1-3):105-112. | March 15th, 2019 | Authors: Nabbou N, Belhachemi M, Boumelik M, Merzougui T, Lahcene D, Harek Y, Zorpas AA, Jeguirim M.
Location: Algeria
Industry type: Water Treatment
Note from Fluoride Action Network:
“Since all methods [to remove fluoride] produce a sludge with very high concentration of fluoride that has to be disposed of, only water for drinking and cooking purposes should be treated, particularly in the developing countries.”
Reference: Fluorosis (see Interventions), World Health Organization


This article focuses on the application of clay, kaolinite, for the removal of fluoride ion from Saharan groundwater located in the Tindouf region (Algeria) because high concentrations are detected in potable water. Adsorption tests show that fluoride ion removal was efficient when the pH varies from 4.5 to 6. Under these conditions, the adsorption capacities were 0.442 and 0.448 mg/g, respectively. Kinetic and isotherm adsorption correlations were applied to describe the adsorption process. The results showed that the pseudo-second-order kinetic model and Freundlich isotherm fit well the experimental data. Thermodynamic calculation indicated that fluoride sorption into clay increased with increasing temperature from 30 to 55 °C, indicating the endothermic nature of sorption process. The investigation of the removal of fluoride from simulated potable water shows that the presence of nitrate and chloride ions did not influence the fluoride uptake. However, sulfate and carbonate ions decrease the adsorption capacity. Such results show that these ions may enter in competition with each other that may result in electrostatic repulsive forces between fluoride and clay surface. From this study, it can be concluded that the kaolinite is an effective and low-cost material for the removal of fluoride ions from groundwater.

*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S163107481830208X