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1. WO2009003709 - PREPARATION OF NEW HYDROTALCITE-LIKE ADSORBENTS USEFUL FOR THE ADSORPTION OF ANIONIC MATERIALS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

PREPARATION OF NEW HYDROTALCITE-LIKE ADSORBENTS USEFUL FOR THE
ADSORPTION OF ANIONIC MATERIALS

This invention relates to a method for the synthesis of an adsorbent which is in particular suitable for the adsorption of sulfur-containing anions in water purification. Further, the invention relates to a method for purification of water.

As a foodstuff drinking water must fulfill rigorous requirements as to purity and therefore has to pass several purification steps, e.g. to remove microbiological contaminants or heavy metal cations, before being ready to use. Humans however are very sensitive to some compounds and are able to recognize e.g. sulfurous compounds, e.g. H2S, also at very low levels. Contamination of drinking water by H2S leads to a malodorous taste.
This is in particular a problem in areas of volcanic activity where in many cases the drinking water also after standard purification contains traces of sulfurous compounds. To remove also traces of such sulfurous compounds the drinking water may be treated with an adsorbent. However such adsorbent must be able to treat large amounts of water without being degraded and further must be provided at low cost.

Layered Double Hydroxides (LDH) are a class of ionic lamellar solids comprising positively charged layers formed of divalent and trivalent metal cations, for example Mg2+ and Al3+. A typical representative of this class of minerals is hydrotalcite . The general formula of hydrotalcite is Mg6Al2(OH)6CO3* 4H2O. The crystal structure of hydrotalcite may be derived from brucite, (Mg(OH)2), which forms an octahedron as a subunit of a layered structure. Partial replacement of Mg2+ ions with Al3+ ions in the brucite structure results in an excess of positive charge, which is compensated in the hydrotalcite structure by anions introduced between the layers of the crystal structure. Suitable anions are e.g. hydroxide and carbonate anions, which also may be hydrated. The anions introduced into interlayer spaces as well as crystal water molecules are only weakly bonded to the crystal layers. Therefore, hydrotalcite-like compounds can be used e.g. as anion exchangers, polymer stabilizer, antiacids, anion scavengers, adsorbents and for the controlled release of anions.

US 4,458,030 discloses an adsorbent composition comprising a combination of a hydrotalcite compound and activated carbon. The hydrotalcite compound has a relatively high specific surface area, for example a BET specific surface area of about 50 to about 200 m2/g and a secondary particle diameter of about 0.1 - 10 μm. The composite adsorbent shows an increased adsorptive power in comparison to the individual compounds, in particular for anions like nitrate, chloride, sulfate, acetate, oxalate and iron hexacyanoferrate. The hydrotalcite used in the adsorbent may be available in the market or may be produced by methods known per se. For example, the hydrotalcite may be produced by reacting an aqueous solution of a water-soluble magnesium compound and/or a water soluble zinc compound, such as magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, zinc chloride and zinc sulfate, with an aqueous solution of a water-soluble aluminium compound, such as aluminium chloride, aluminium sulfate and sodium alumi-nate together with an aqueous solution of an alkali such as sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonia, sodium carbonate and sodium oxalate. If an aqueous solution of a zinc salt is used in this reaction, it is preferred to carry out the reaction at a pH of at least about 6. If an aqueous solution of a magnesium salt is used, the reaction is carried out preferably at a pH of at least about 8. The hydrotalcite may optionally be calcined at a temperature of up to about 800 0C.

DE 41 40 746 discloses a method for the sorption of weak polar and non-polar substances in polar media like process water. The method comprises the use of hydrophobically modified hydrotalcite for adsorption of hydrocarbons. The modified hydrotalcite is synthesized by mixing fatty acids with sodium aluminate and magnesia chloride.

US 5,399,329 discloses a process for producing hydrotalcite-like materials having a sheet-like morphology and having an average broadness to thickness ratio ranging from 50 to 5.000 and having the following formula:

(Mg1-XAlx) (OH)2 xA" • m H2O

where A is a mono carboxylic anion of the formula RCOO", where R is of the formula CnH2n+1 and n = 0 - 5, x is a number ranging between 0.2 and 0.4 and m is a number between 0 and 4, said process comprising reacting a mixture of divalent metal cations comprising at least 50 mole percent magnesium cations and triva-lent metal cations comprising at least 50 mole percent aluminium cations, said divalent and trivalent metal cations being present in a ratio of about 1 : 1 to about 10 : 1, with a mono carboxylic anion having 1 - 6 carbon atoms, in an aqueous slurry at a temperature of at least 40 0C, at a pH from 7 to about 12, and at a ratio of mono carboxylic anion to trivalent metal cation of about 0.1 to about 1.2 : 1, followed by drying said slurry at a temperature of at least 40 0C to crystallize a hydrotalcite-like material having a sheet-like morphology and having an average broadness to thickness ratio ranging from 50 to 5.000.

US 4,904,457 discloses a method of producing hydrotalcite, comprising:

a) heating magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide to a temperature between about 500 - 900 0C to form activated magnesia;

b) reacting activated magnesia with an aqueous solution of aluminate, carbonate, and hydroxyl ions at a pH above
about 13 to form hydrotalcite at a conversion yield
greater than about 75 %.

In general, crystalline hydrotalcite compounds are excellent adsorbents for a variety of anions in many different applications. Nevertheless crystalline hydrotalcite compounds are relatively expensive due to the purity of the educts and complex synthesis conditions of the high crystalline hydrotalcite product. Special crystallization treatment and especially heating steps like calcination increase the complexity and the costs of the synthesis process even more.

Therefore it is an objective of the present invention to provide a method for the synthesis of an adsorbent suitable for the adsorption of different anions in a variety of environments, in particular for removing sulfur containing anions from drinking water, that does not afford expensive starting materials or complicated synthesis steps and therefore may be produced in a cost-efficient manner.

This objective is solved by a method according to claim 1. Preferred embodiments are defined in the depending claims.

According to the invention an extract produced as a by-product in the manufacturing of bleaching earth is used as a starting material in the synthesis of the adsorbent. The extract is selected such that the extract is rich in aluminium ions and rich in iron ions. The extract usually also contains magnesium ions such that the extract, at least in part, may also serve as a magnesium source for the production of an adsorbent. The inventors have found that by using an extract obtained as by-product in the production of bleaching earth that is rich in iron ions, an adsorbent is obtained that is particularly suitable for removing sulfur-containing anions, in particular sulfide ions and sulfate ions, from drinking water. The precipitate obtained by-addition of a base and carbonate ions must only be dried and optionally milled after separation from the liquid phase and must not be calcined at higher temperatures. Therefore the process of the invention may be performed in a simple and cost-efficient manner and provides an adsorbent with sufficient adsorption capacity to be used in the purification of drinking water.

According to the invention is provided a method for the synthesis of an adsorbent suitable for the adsorption of anions, comprising at least the following steps:

a) extracting a clay with mineral acid and separating
the liquid extract phase thereby providing an acid
extract containing at least 6,5 g/1 aluminium ions
and at least 4,5 g/1 iron ions;

b) adjusting the magnesium concentration of the acid
extract by adding a magnesium source to the acid extract until a magnesium concentration of at least
6,8 g/1 is obtained;

c) adjusting the pH of the acid extract to at least pH
= 7 by adding an aqueous alkaline solution thereby
obtaining a neutralized extract;

d) after adjustment of the pH to at least pH = 7, adding a carbonate source to the neutralized extract
thereby obtaining a carbonated extract;

e) separating a precipitate from the carbonated extract formed during addition of the aqueous alkaline solution and the carbonate source to the acid
extract;

f) drying and optionally milling the precipitate;

wherein no calcination is performed on the precipitate.

Bleaching earths are provided by extracting naturally occurring clays with strong mineral acids. Naturally occurring clays contain a variety of different cations like Na, K, Ca, Mg, Al and Fe. During extraction of these clays, e.g. by cooking these clays with a strong mineral acid, part of the cations are dissolved from the clay mineral and form a cation rich acid solution. This solution is separated from the extracted clay material and is used e.g. in the treatment of waste water. The acid treated clay may be used as bleaching earth for the treatment of edible oils or as catalyst material. Due to the economical relevance of bleaching earths in many industrial applications, the cation rich by-product solution is highly available and cheap.

The acid extract obtained as a by-product in the production of bleaching earth is selected such, that it is containing at least 6,5 g/1 aluminum ions and at least 4,5 g/1 iron ions, both calculated as elemental aluminum and elemental iron. If necessary, the iron content of the acid extract may be adjusted by adding suitable iron compounds, e.g. iron oxide or iron chloride.

According to the invention the acid extract provided as a byproduct in the production of bleaching earth is combined with a magnesium source to adjust the magnesium concentration of the acid extract to at least 6.8 g/1, preferably within a range of 11.0 to 25.0 g/1, calculated as elemental magnesium. Many of the clays used as starting material in the production of bleaching earths also contain magnesium ions which are extracted during treatment of the clay with strong mineral acids. Therefore, the acid extract used as an aluminium source and an iron source in the method according to the invention also is rich in magnesium ions and, therefore, in most cases only an amount of magnesium ions has to be added which corresponds to the difference in magnesium concentration in the acid extract and the adsorbent to be synthesized. The acid extract provided by the extraction of clays may therefore also serve at least in part as a magnesium source. Use of the extract therefore allows a very cost-efficient synthesis of the adsorbent. Besides aluminum, iron and magnesium ions the extract also may contain a high number of further ions. However, it was found that the presence of these further ions does not have any detrimental effect on the adsorption capacity of the adsorbent and no heavy metal ions are leached out during treatment of water with the adsorbent obtained by the method according to the invention.

The acid extract obtained from the 'bleaching earth production is combined with the magnesium source and then the pH of the acid extract is adjusted to at least pH = 7 by adding an aqueous alkaline solution to thereby obtain a neutralized extract. During adjustment of the pH-value a precipitate is produced. To achieve complete precipitation of the metal ions the pH-value is preferably adjusted to at least pH = 8, and is particularly adjusted within a range of 7,5 to 9,0.

As an alkaline solution may be used a solution of e.g. NaOH, KOH, Ca(OH)2, Mg(OH)2- Preferably, NaOH is used as a base to neutralize the aluminium/magnesium source mixture. The solution may be a concentrated solution. However, preferably a diluted aqueous alkaline solution is used to allow better handling and a better removal of the heat produced during neutralization. Preferably, the aqueous alkaline solution comprises 1 to 40 wt.-%, particularly preferred 10 to 30 wt.-% of the base.

To the neutralized extract is then added a carbonate source to introduce carbonate ions as gallery ions and to thereby obtain a carbonated extract. Any suitable carbonate source may be used. A suitable carbonate source may be selected from the group of Na2CO3, NaHCO3, K2CO3, KHCO3, CaCO3, Ca (HCO3) 2, MgCO3, Mg (HCO3) 2. The compounds may be used in pure form or as a mixture. According to a preferred embodiment sodium carbonate (soda) is used as the carbonate source. During addition of the carbonate source the pH of the mixture is preferably adjusted to at least 8, particularly preferred within a range of 8,5 to 9,5.

After addition of the carbonate source the precipitate is separated from the carbonated extract by suitable means, e.g. by filtration.

The separated precipitate is then dried and optionally milled. The precipitate is dried at a low temperature at which the carbonate ions and the water bound in the adsorbent will not be separated from the crystal structure. The temperature used for drying therefore is adjusted to 200 0C at most, preferably within a range of 100 0C to 150 0C, particularly preferred within a range of 100 to 130 0C. It is not necessary to calci- nate the precipitate to thereby obtain a well established hydro-talcite structure. Accordingly, in the method according to the invention, the precipitate preferably is not treated at a temperature of more than 300 0C, particularly preferred not more than 200 0C and most preferred is not treated at a temperature of more than 150 0C. The method according to the invention therefore does not comprise a calcination step and therefore the corresponding costs for energy are saved.

The dried precipitate may be milled to adjust the particle size. The particle size is preferably adjusted to < 200 μm, particularly preferred within a range of 50 to 100 μm. The particle size may be determined e.g. by sieving or laser granulatometry.

The adsorbent may be used in the form of a powder or may be formed to shaped bodies in a known manner.

According to a preferred embodiment the aqueous alkaline solution is added under high shear. The high shear condition supports an uniform product forming process and prevents an early agglomeration and flocculation. In general every suitable
(slurry) mixing device, including ultra-sonic treatment, can be used to induce the high shear agitation. The duration and intensity of the high shear agitation can be varied depending on educt and product properties, like solubilty, particle size and dispersity. Preferably the high shear condition is continued throughout the synthesis, i.e. until separation of the precipitate from the liquid phase.

The carbonate source may be added to the neutralized extract in solid form. Preferably, however, the carbonate source is added in the form of an aqueous solution to achieve a rapid reaction with the precipitate.

The aqueous carbonate source solution may be used in concentrated or diluted form. Preferably the aqueous carbonate source has a solid content within a range of 1 to 40 wt.-%, particularly preferred within a range of 10 to 25 wt.-%.

The liquid acid extract phase provided as the starting material for the method according to the invention may be adjusted to any suitable temperature. However, to achieve a high concentration of dissolved aluminium salts and to avoid premature precipitation of the dissolved aluminium salts the liquid acid extract phase provided from the bleaching earth production is preferably adjusted to a temperature in a range of 50 to 90 0C, particularly preferred in a range of 55 to 75 0C. Handling of the liquid acid extract phase at temperatures above 90 0C causes problems because of high corrosion of the apparatuses used for the synthesis of the adsorbent.

The aqueous alkaline solution and/or the carbonate source is preferably added at such a rate to the acid extract, that the heat produced by the neutralization reaction can be conveniently removed. Preferably during addition of the aqueous alkaline solution and/or the carbonate source, the acid extract is kept at a temperature within a range of 50 to 90 0C, particularly preferred within a range of 55 to 75°C. If necessary, a cooling equipment may be provided to remove the heat produced during addition of the base.

The acid extract phase provided by the extraction of clays in the production of bleaching earth may be used as it is obtained in the extraction process. However to avoid premature precipitation of aluminium salts, e.g. by cooling the liquid extract, the liquid acid extract phase provided from the bleaching earth production preferably has a solid content of less than 25 wt.-%, particularly preferred within a range of 10 to 20 wt.-%.

To avoid large amounts of waste water in the process of the invention a high concentration of aluminum is preferred in the acid extract liquid phase. Preferably the acid extract has an aluminum concentration of at least 8.5 g/1, calculated as elemental aluminum. Particularly preferred the aluminium concentration of the acid extract phase is adjusted within a range of 7.5 to 10.8 g/1.

Further, the acid extract preferably contains at least 3.0 g/1 iron ions, particularly preferred 4.5 to 6.0 g/1 of iron ions, calculated as elemental iron.

The acid extract used as the starting material in the method according to the invention may be used as obtained in the extraction of clay with mineral acid in the production of bleaching earth. However, it is also possible to dilute the liquid extract phase to thereby better control the neutralization process. Preferably the liquid extract phase provided as an aluminium source has an acid content of less than 20 wt.-%, particularly preferred within a range of 5 to 10 wt.-%.

To achieve a homogenous product, according to a preferred embodiment after addition of the magnesium source to the acid extract, the mixture is agitated at least 5 minutes, particularly preferred at least 10 minutes, before adding the aqueous alkaline solution.

To achieve a thorough insertion of the carbonate ions into the crystal structure, after addition of the carbonate source the carbonated extract is preferably reacted for at least 1 hour, particularly preferred for at least 2 hours.

To remove excess anions, the precipitate is preferably washed with water after separation of the precipitate from the carbonated extract, i.e. before drying. As in the drinking water ani- ons, e.g. carbonate anions, are present, it is not necessary to use distilled water for purification. To achieve sufficient removal of anions it is sufficient to use tap water. In particular, sulfate ions present in the precipitate should be removed. The washing is preferably continued until the anion concentration in the washing water is below 3650 mg/1. The anion concentration may be determined by standard methods known in the field of drinking water technology.

The acid extract used as the starting material in the method according to the invention is obtained by extraction of clay materials with strong mineral acid. As most clays also contain magnesium, the extract also contains magnesium ions. A typical magnesium concentration in the liquid extract, calculated as elemental magnesium, is in a range of 6.5 to 7.5 g/1. If the magnesium ion concentration is not high enough to obtain the desired magnesium concentration in the adsorbent material, a magnesium source is added to the aluminium source. A preferred magnesium source is Mg(OH)2. Such Mg (OH) 2 may be provided e.g. in the form of brucite. Other suitable magnesium sources are magnesium carbonate, activated magnesium oxide, or magnesium chloride.

As already discussed above, the mixture of the acid extract serving as aluminium and iron source, magnesium source, aqueous alkaline solution and carbonate source is preferably kept under high shear conditions during the synthesis. According to a preferred embodiment, the high shear condition is achieved by stirring the mixture at a rotation speed within a range of 100 to 5000 rpm, preferably within the range of 1000 to 3000 rpm. In general every suitable (slurry) mixing device can be used to induce the high shear agitation. However, the stirring apparatus used should withstand the highly acidic or basic conditions present during the synthesis of the adsorbent. The duration and intensity of the high shear agitation can be varied depending on educt and product properties, like solubilty, particle size and dispersity.

According to a preferred embodiment the continuous high shear agitation lasts for 1 - 480 minutes, preferably lasts for 10 -240 minutes and particularly preferred lasts for 25 - 130 minutes .

The clay used as a starting material for obtaining the liquid acid extract phase used as the aluminium and iron source in the method according to the invention may be every clay commonly used for the production of bleaching earth. Preferably, the clay is selected from the group of smectitic clays. Preferred smec-titic clays are selected from the group consisting of montmoril-lonite, bentonite, hectorite, nontronite, vermiculite, illite, saponite. Bentonite is particularly preferred. Bentonite mainly comprises montmorillonite. Montmorillonite has the general formula (Al3.2lVIgo.8) (Si8) O20 (OH) 4 (CO3) 0.8-

The strong mineral acid used for extracting the clay may be every mineral acid commonly used in the production of high performance bleaching earth. Preferably, the mineral acid used for extracting the clay is selected from the group consisting of hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, nitric acid and mixtures thereof.

The conditions used for extracting the clay are common to the skilled person. Preferably the extraction is performed at a temperature close to the boiling point of the liquid phase. A preferred temperature range is 80 to 100 0C, particularly preferred a range of 85 to 95 0C. The duration of the extraction is selected such as desired by the activation of the bleaching earth. Preferably the duration of the extraction is selected within a range of 1 to 10 hours, particularly preferred 4 to 8 hours.

The molar ratio Al/Mg in the reaction mixture, i.e. after adding the magnesium source to the aluminium source, is preferably selected within a range of 1.0 to 5.0, particularly preferred 2.0 to 3.0.

Besides aluminum, iron and optionally magnesium, the acid extract obtained from the bleaching earth production and used as the starting material for the process according to the invention may contain further metal cations. Preferred further metal cations are selected from the group of Ca, Na, K, Li, NH4+.

The adsorbent obtained with the method according to the invention has a high absorption capacity for anions and may be produced in an cost efficient manner.

According to a further aspect the invention therefore is directed to a method for purification of water, wherein an adsorbent is prepared with a method as described above and the water to be purified is contacted with the adsorbent.

The adsorbent binds a variety of inorganic anions, e.g. SO4 2-, SO32", S2", NO3", NO2", CN", N3", CrO42", PO42" and organic anions like CH3COO", H2COO" and (O2CCO2)2".

The purification is performed in a known manner by e.g. mixing the water to be purified with a powder of the adsorbent. Suitably, the amount of adsorbent added to the water to be purified is preferably at least 4 mg/1 and is particularly preferred selected within a range of 5 to 10 mg/1, most preferred within a range of 6 to 8 mg/1. According to another embodiment the adsorbent may be provided in the form of spherical bodies that may form a fixed bed and the water to be purified is directed through the fixed bed.

The water to be purified may be e.g. spring-water, ground-water or surface water derived from e.g. rivers or lakes. However, the adsorbent may also be used for the purification of beverages, foodstuff, swimming pool water, urban or industrial waste water.

The adsorbent is in particular suitable for the removal of sulfur-containing anions, like S2~, SO32" and SO42". Additionally the adsorbent decreases the hardness of water by removing carbonate anions, thereby lowering the amount of hardly soluble salts like CaCO3, MgCO3, CaSO4 and MgSO4. Preferably, the water to be purified has a sulfur content of at least 300 mg/1, particularly preferred of at least 500 mg/1 and most preferred is within a range of 400 to 100 mg/1, calculated as SO42" anions. The sulfur content of the water to be purified may be detected e.g. by the method described below.

The following figures and examples will serve to illustrate certain embodiments of the herein disclosed invention. These figures and examples should not, however, be construed as limiting the scope of the invention.

Fig. 1: is a XRD pattern of the adsorbent obtained by the method according to the invention.

Fig. 2: is a diagram showing the amount of SO42-, water hardness and pH after treatment of a water sample with various amounts of adsorbents.

Analytical methods:

Detection of water hardness

"X" ml of the water sample to be analyzed are accurately measured into a 25 ml Erlenmeyer flask. A magnetic bar is inserted into the flask and the sample is stirred. Then "X" ml of a buffer solution, prepared by dissolving 16.9 g of ammonium chloride in 143 ml of 1 m ammonium hydroxide and a small amount of eriochrome black indicator are added and the mixture is titrated with 0.01 M EDTA solution until the red color of the indicator turns to blue. The amount of EDTA-solution ("A" ml) used is noted and the hardness is calculated according to the following equitation:

000
\ /L) ml S S Saaammmpple

where A is the ml of the EDTA solution used in the titration, B is the mg CaCO3 equivalent to 1 ml of EDTA solution. For a 0.01 M EDTA solution, B is 1 mg CaCO3 / 1 ml of EDTA solution.

Detection of amount of SO42-

The sulfate ions are precipitated in a hydrochloric acid medium with barium chloride (BaCl2) so as to form barium sulfate
(BaSO4) crystals of uniform size. Light absorbance of the BaSO4 suspension is measured by a nephelometer or transmission photometer and the sulfate concentration is determined by comparison of the reading with a standard curve.

100 ml of the sample to be analyzed are pipetted into a 250 ml Erlenmeyer flask. A magnetic bar is inserted into the flask and the sample is stirred. 5.00 ml conditioning agent, prepared by dissolving 30 g of magnesium chloride, 5 g sodium acetate, 1 g potassium nitrate and 20 ml of acetic acid in 500 ml of distilled water, are added and then a spoonful of BaCl2 crystals and the solution is stirred for 1.0 min at constant speed. Immediately after the stirring period has ended the solution is poured into the absorption cell of the photometer (spectrometer: SPECTROQUANT Nova 60, 420 nm, light path 4 cm) and the turbidity is measured at 30 s intervals for 4 min. Maximum turbidity usu- ally occurs within 2 min and readings remain constant there after 3 to 10 min. Turbidity is considered to be the maximum reading in the 4 min interval. The amount of sulfate ions is calculated according to the following equitation:

sul iffat*e , mgS O4 I / L/ = /wg.SQ4xl,000
mLsample

Determination of pH

The pH is determined with a calibrated glass electrode.

Detection of aluminum, iron and magnesium content in acid extract:

The analysis of these metals is performed by means of a Spectrophotometer ICP plasma model Optima 3100 XL from Perkin Elmer, USA, according to the manufacturer's instructions. The sample is injected into a high-temperature argon plasma, where the atoms are vaporized, excited and subsequently emit light that can be measured.

Determination of sulfide amount

From a buret an amount of iodine solution is measured into a 500 ml flask estimated to be an excess over the amount of sulfide present. If necessary, the volume of the solution is brought to about 20 ml by addition of distilled water. Then, 2 ml of 6 N HCl are added. 200 ml of the sample to be analyzed are pipetted into the flask. The sample is back titrated with Na2S2Oa solution until the iodine color disappears. Towards the end of the titration starch solution is added for better visibility of the end point. If sulfide was precipitated with zinc and ZnS filtered out, the precipitate is washed into the flask with about 100 ml of water. After addition of iodine solution and HCl, the sample may be back titrated as described above.

1 ml of 0.0250 N iodine solution reacts with 0.4 mg sulfide.

The amount of sulfide is calculated according to the following equitation:

o . , ((AxB) - (CxD))x\6,000
mgSIL=
mLsample

where:

A = ml iodine solution
B = normality of iodine solution
C = ml Na2S2Os solution
D = normality of Na2S2O3 solution

Example 1: Preparation of the adsorbent

In a three necked flask equipped with a stirrer, a dropping funnel and a thermometer was placed 1631 g of an acidic aluminium solution (Sϋdflock®, Sϋd-Chemie AG, Mϋnchen, DE) derived from extraction of clay with hydrochloric acid and having a composition as listed in table 1. The solution was heated to 60 0C and then 98 g aqueous solution of Mg(OH)2 (20 wt.-%) was added drop wise under high shear agitation. During addition of the magnesium salt solution the temperature of the mixture was kept at 60 0C. After addition the mixture was kept at 60 0C for further 10 minutes while continuing high shear agitation. Thereafter 667 g aqueous solution of NaOH (20 wt . %) was added drop wise until the pH reaches 7. If necessary, the mixture was cooled by use of an ice-bath. Finally 783 g aqueous solution of Na2CO3 (20 wt . %) was added drop wise until the pH reaches 10. The mixture was kept at 60 0C for one hour while continuing high shear agita- tion. The mixture was cooled to room temperature and then filtered through a buchner funnel. The solids were washed 5 times with 500 ml tap water each to remove sulfate impurities. The solids were placed on a glass dish and dried at 120 0C over night in an oven. The dried solids were milled and sieved through a mesh of 75 μm mesh size.

A diffraction pattern of the adsorbent is displayed in fig. 1.

Table 1: Composition of the acidic aluminium solution (Sud-flock®)


Example 2: Sulfate adsorption tests:

To 1 1 of tap water having a SCM2" concentration of 850 mg/1, a water hardness of 1150 and a pH of 7, adjusted to room temperature was added the adsorbent obtained in example 1 in a concentration as summarized in table 2. In a further example, 200 mg Synthal® 701 (Sϋd-Chemie AG, Munchen, DE) were used as a comparison. The samples were stirred for 1 h at room temperature. Then, the adsorbent was separated by filtering through a paper filter and the samples analyzed as to their SO42" concentration, water hardness and pH.

The results of the adsorption tests are summarized in table 2 and are displayed in Fig. 2.

Table 2: Purification of drinking water with various adsorbents,