“Nanotraps” for effective removal of lead(II) in water

Rapid development of global industrial activities has caused the increased release of heavy metal ions into water bodies, affecting human health and environmental safety due to their toxic and carcinogenic nature even at a very low concentration. The removal of toxic metal ions and accessibility of clean water remain a critical challenge to mankind in the current scenario, expected to increase in the near future. This has necessitated the need for effective removal of toxic metal ions. The most critical problem encountered in adsorbents including nanofibers is their limited adsorption capacity due to the adsorption of metal ions on their surface as monolayers and denaturation of adsorbents.

Dr Anitha Senthamizhanm, Dr Brabu Balusamy and Dr Asli Celebioglu presented a research work highlights the preliminary efforts to devise a synthetic strategy for the effective removal of Pb2+ in water by creating stable “nanotraps” in electrospun porous cellulose acetate fibers (pCAFs) under the supervision of Assoc. Prof Tamer Uyar. And also the authours paid more attention to study the interaction between fibrous mat and water and their transport behavior to improve the overall removal capacity of metal ions. Interestingly, it has been found that the occurrence of pores greatly enhances the capillary effect of the pCAFM/AuNC when compared to the nonporous fibrous membrane. As a result, the pCAFM/AuNC has the ability to remove the metal ions in the order of Pb2+ > Zn2+ > Cd2+ > Hg2+ > Ni2+ > Mn2+. The results showed a higher degree of removal efficiency towards Pb2+ when compared to other metal ions. The resulting outcome suggests the removal of ∼70% of Pb2+ within 5 minutes, and the removal efficiency gradually increases and reached 99% within 3 h. The study described here opens up a new path towards preparing a stable composite membrane containing vast nanotraps without comprising or losing the parent properties of the adsorbent.

The complete study has been published as an Inside Front Cover in J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016,4, 2484-2493 and can be accessed at the following address: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2016/ta/c5ta09166g

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