Natural Zeolites for the Sorption of Ammonium: Breakthrough Curve Evaluation and Modeling

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelEingeladenBegutachtung


The excessive use of ammonium fertilizer and its associated leakage threatens aquatic environments around the world. With a focus on the treatment of drinking water, the scope of this study was to evaluate and model the breakthrough curves for NH4+ in zeolite-filled, fixed-bed columns. Breakthrough experiments were performed in single- and multi-sorbate systems with the initial K+ and NH4+ concentrations set to 0.7 mmol/L. Breakthrough curves were successfully modeled by applying the linear driving force (LDF) and Thomas models. Batch experiments revealed that a good description of NH4+ sorption was provided by the Freundlich sorption model (R2 = 0.99), while unfavorable sorption was determined for K+ (nF = 2.19). Intraparticle diffusion was identified as the rate limiting step for NH4+ and K+ during breakthrough. Compared to ultrapure water, the use of tap, river, and groundwater matrices decreased the treated bed volumes by between 25% and 69%—as measured at a NH4+ breakthrough level of 50%. The concentrations of K+ and of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were identified as the main parameters that determine NH4+ sorption in zeolite-filled, fixed-bed columns. Based on our results, the LDF and Thomas models are promising tools to predict the breakthrough curves of NH4+ in zeolite-filled, fixed-bed columns. © 2023 by the authors.


PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 7 Feb. 2023

Externe IDs

Scopus 85149256156
PubMed 36838602
Mendeley 170a1f16-185f-35ce-90e5-eed9b1f51006
ORCID /0000-0001-5186-3955/work/142251462


Forschungsprofillinien der TU Dresden


  • breakthrough curve modeling; linear driving force model; Thomas model; two-factor variance analysis; ultrapure water and natural water matrices, Thomas model, breakthrough curve modeling, linear driving force model, two-factor variance analysis, ultrapure water and natural water matrices, Water, Water Purification/methods, Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis, Ammonium Compounds, Adsorption, Zeolites