Aqueous heavy metals removal by adsorption on amine-functionalized mesoporous silica
Amino functional mesoporous silica SBA-15 materials have been prepared to develop efficient adsorbents of heavy metals in wastewater. Functionalization with amino groups has been carried out by using two independent methods, grafting and co-condensation. Three organic moieties have been selected to incorporate the active amino sites: aminopropyl (H2N-(CH2)3-), [amino-ethylamino]-propyl (H2N-(CH2)2-NH(CH2)3-) and [(2-aminoethylamino)-ethylamino]-propyl (H2N-(CH2)2-NH-(CH2)2-NH(CH2)3-). Materials have been characterized by XRD, nitrogen sorption measurements and chemical analysis. We have found that all materials preserve the mesoscopic order and exhibit suitable textural properties and nitrogen contents to act as potential adsorbents. Metal removal from aqueous solution has been examined for Cu(II), Ni(II), Pb(II), Cd(II), and Zn(II); adsorption performances of materials prepared by the two functionalization methods have been compared. In addition, copper adsorption process has been thoroughly studied from both kinetic and equilibrium points of view for some selected materials. Aqueous Cu(II) adsorption rates show that the overall process is fast and the time evolution can be successfully reproduced with a pseudo-second order kinetic model. Whole copper adsorption isotherms have been obtained at 25ºC. Significant maximum adsorption capacities have been found with excellent behavior at low concentration.
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