Fluoride removal by a continuous flow electrocoagulation reactor
Long-term consumption of water containing excessive fluoride can lead to fluorosis of the teeth and bones. Electrocoagulation (EC) is an electrochemical technique, in which a variety of unwanted dissolved particles and suspended matter can be effectively removed from an aqueous solution by electrolysis. Continuous flow experiments with monopolar aluminium electrodes for fluoride removal were undertaken to investigate the effects of the different parameters such as: current density (12.5–50 A/m2), flow rate (150–400 mL/min), initial pH (4–8), and initial fluoride concentration (5–25 mg/L). The highest treatment efficiency was obtained for the largest current and the removal efficiency was found to be dependent on the current density, the flow rate and the initial fluoride concentration when the final pH ranged between 6 and 8. The composition of the sludge produced was analysed using the X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectrum. The strong presence of the aluminium hydroxide [Al(OH)3] in the above pH range, which maximizes the formation of aluminium fluoride hydroxide complex [AlnFm(OH)3n−m], is the main reason for defluoridation by electrocoagulation. The results obtained showed that the continuous flow electrocoagulation technology is an effective process for defluoridation of potable water supplies and could also be utilized for the defluoridation of industrial wastewater.