The fate and transport of toxic metal ions and radionuclides in the environment is generally controlled by sorption reactions.
The extent of sorption of divalent metal cations is controlled by a number of factors including cosorbing or complexing. In
this work, the effects of pH, humic acid HA/Co(II) addition orders, ionic strength, concentration of HA, and foreign cations
on the Co(II) sorption on γ-Al2O3 in the presence of HA were investigated. The sorption isotherms of Co(II) on γ-Al2O3 in the absence and presence HA were also studied and described by using S-type sorption model. The experimental results showed
that the Co(II) sorption is strongly dependent on the pH values, concentration of HA, but independent of HA/Co(II) addition
orders, ionic strength, and foreign cations in the presence of HA under our experimental conditions. The results also indicated
that HA enhanced the Co(II) sorption at low pH, but reduced the Co(II) sorption at high pH. It was hypothesized that the significantly
positive influence of HA at low pH on the Co(II) sorption on γ-Al2O3 was attributed to strong surface binding of HA on γ-Al2O3 and subsequently the formation of ternary surface complexes such as ≡S-OOC-R-(COO−)xCo2−x. Chemi-complexation may be the main mechanism of the Co(II) sorption on γ-Al2O3 in the presence of HA.