U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Comparison of two- and three-compartment cells for electrodialytic removal of heavy metals from contaminated material suspensions

Gunvor M. Kirkelund, Pernille E. Jensen, Lisbeth M. Ottosen, Kristine B. Pedersen
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.367 pp. 68-76
calcium, cleaning agents, electric current, filtrates, fly ash, heavy metals, metal ions, mine tailings, multivariate analysis, pH, protons, remediation, sediments, soil
Electrodialytic remediation can be applied to remove heavy metals from contaminated particulate materials in suspension. The applied electric current is the cleaning agent and the heavy metals are removed by electromigration. In this study, a two-compartment cell was compared to a three-compartment cell, for several contaminated materials such as soils, sediments, mine tailings and ashes and totally 20 experiments were conducted. The pH decrease was faster in the two-compartment cell, but the metal removal was higher in the three-compartment cell since anionic metal species are removed from the material suspension in this cell set-up. For materials with relatively high chloride content, fly ash and harbour sediments, up to 38% of the metals were found in the filtrate in the two-compartment cell. Up to 9% of the current was used to transport heavy metal ions in the experiments and the current was mainly carried by H+ and Ca2+. Even with the lower pH in the two-compartment cell experiments, there was little difference in the percentage of the current carried by the metal ions between the two set-ups. Multivariate analysis showed that the choice of cell set-up depends on the metals targeted by remediation and the material characteristics.