Olive cake as low-cost abundantly available sorbent has been characterized by N2 at 77 K adsorption, porosity analysis, elemental analysis and IR spectra and has been used for preconcentrating of uranium(VI)
and thorium(IV) ions prior to their determination spectrophotometrically. The optimum pH values for quantitative sorption
of U(VI) and Th(IV) are 4–7 and 3–7, respectively. The enrichment factor for the preconcentration of U(VI) and Th(IV) were
found to be 125 and 75 in the given order. The sorption capacity of olive cake is in the range of 2,260–15,000 μg g−1 for Th(IV) and in the range of 1,090–17,000 μg g−1 for U(VI) at pH 3–7. The sorbent exhibits good reusability and the uptake and stripping of the studied ions were fairly rapid.
The elution of U(VI) and Th(IV) was performed with 0.3–1 M HCl/1–2 M HNO3 and 0.3–0.8 M HCl/1 M HNO3, respectively. The precision of the method was 1.8 RSD% for U(VI) and 2.5 RSD% for Th(IV) in a concentration of 1.00 μg mL−1 for 10 replicate analysis. The influence of some electrolytes and cations as interferents was discussed. Separation of U(VI)
and Th(IV) from other metal ions in synthetic solution was achieved.