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Advances in Physical Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9075206, 9 pages
Research Article

Removal of Phosphate Using Red Mud: An Environmentally Hazardous Waste By-Product of Alumina Industry

1National Institute of Miner’s Health, Wadi, Nagpur 440 023, India
2Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminum Research Development and Design Centre, Wadi, Nagpur 440 023, India
3Department of Chemistry, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur 440 033, India

Received 29 April 2016; Accepted 26 July 2016

Academic Editor: Jan Skov Pedersen

Copyright © 2016 Shivkumar S. Prajapati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The industrial waste, bauxite residue generated in the Bayer chemical process of alumina production, commonly known as red mud (RM) has been used as the adsorbent for selective removal of phosphate in aqueous solutions. RM collected from the storage area of alumina industry was characterized by chemical analysis and physical methods such as BET surface area, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), particle size analysis, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods. Among the various red mud samples (0.2–200 μ) studied, the samples treated with 1 M HCl for 2 h were found better for the selective adsorption of phosphate in comparison with untreated and heat treated RM samples. The presence of phosphate in the aqueous samples collected after adsorption studies with red mud was determined by standard spectrophotometric procedure using ammonium molybdate and ascorbic acid in nitrate medium at 880 nm. The studies reported significant adsorption of phosphate on acid treated red mud in comparison with adsorption of phosphate on untreated and heat treated red mud, respectively. The adsorption of phosphate on raw red mud and activated red mud was further investigated with respect to stirring time, pH of the solution, dose of adsorbent, and varying phosphate concentration. Acid treated RM is observed as an efficient and cost-effective adsorbent for selective removal of phosphate in aqueous solutions.