Comparing the adsorption performance of multiwalled carbon nanotubes oxidized by varying degrees for removal of low levels of copper, nickel and chromium(VI) from aqueous solutions

Marko Šolic, Snežana Maletic, Marijana Kragulj Isakovski, Jasmina Nikic, Malcolm Watson, Zoltan Kónya, Jelena Trickovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have drawn wide attention in recent years as novel materials for the removal of heavy metals from the aquatic media. This paper investigates the effect that the functionalization (oxidation) process duration time (3 h or 6 h) has on the ability of MWCNTs to treat water contaminated with low levels of Cu(II), Ni(II) and Cr(VI) (initial concentrations 0.5-5 mg L-1) and elucidates the adsorption mechanisms involved. Adsorbent characterization showed that the molar ratio of C and O in these materials was slightly lower for the oxMWCNT6h, due to the higher degree of oxidation, but the specific surface areas and mesopore volumes of these materials were very similar, suggesting that prolonging the functionalization duration had an insignificant effect on the physical characteristics of oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (oxMWCNTs). Increasing the Ph of the solutions from Ph 2 to Ph 8 had a large positive impact on the removal of Cu(II) and Ni(II) by oxMWCNT, but reduced the adsorption of Cr(VI). However, the ionic strength of the solutions had far less pronounced effects. Coupled with the results of fitting the kinetics data to the Elowich and Weber-Morris models, we conclude that adsorption of Cu(II) and Ni(II) is largely driven by electrostatic interactions and surface complexation at the interface of the adsorbate/adsorbent system, whereas the slower adsorption of Cr(VI) on the oxMWCNTs investigated is controlled by an additional chemisorption step where Cr(VI) is reduced to Cr(III). Both oxMWCNT3h and oxMWCNT6h have high adsorption affinities for the heavy metals investigated, with adsorption capacities (expressed by the Freundlich coefficient KF) ranging from 1.24 to 13.2 (mg g-1)/(mg l-1)n, highlighting the great potential such adsorbents have in the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number723
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Adsorption
  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Heavy metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

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