Removal of Heavy Metals from Water and Wastewater Using Nanoporous SBA-15 Adsorbents

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc, Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science Yadegar -e- Imam Khomeini (RAH) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science, Yadegar -e- Imam Khomeini (RAH) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Prof., Dept. of Inorganic Chemistry, School of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

4 Prof. Dept. Center of Excellence in Electrochemistry, School of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Tehran,Tehran, Iran

5 Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


Nowadays, provision of sanitary water is one of the main concerns of the world society, and heavy metals are one of the most important pollutants in water resources. Heavy metals, including copper, can enter the food chain and the body of living organisms and can affect humans through toxic and carcinogenic effects. Therefore, in this study, nanoporous SBA-15 functionalized with di and tetra carboxylic acid was synthesized and used for remove copper ions from aqueous solutions. The adsorbents were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, N2 adsorption-desorption measurements and infrared spectroscopy for investigation of porosity and functional groups of mesoporous silica. Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy was used for determination of ions. Effective parameters on removal process including amount of adsorbent, contact time, pH of solution and presence of other metal ions in the medium, were evaluated and optimized. The best removal efficiency with di and tetra carboxylic acid functionalized SBA-15 was obtained at pH>5 with 10 mg of adsorbent in the stirring time of 15 minutes. The recovery of copper from adsorbents was done with 20 ml solution of nitric acid (3 mol/L). Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherms were evaluated for both adsorbents. According to the Langmuier model, the maximum adsorption capacity of 232.56 and 93.46 mg of copper per gram of adsorbent and correlation coefficients (R2) of 0.857 and 0.9688 for di and tetra carboxylic acid functionalized SBA-15 were obtained, respectively. But, the correlation coefficients (R2) obtained from the fitting of the data using the Friendlich isotherm were 0.991 and 0.972 for di and tetra carboxylic acid functionalized SBA-15 silicas, respectively, which indicates that this model is suitable to explaining the behavior of copper adsorption on both adsorbents. Finally, the removal of copper from real wastewater samples was performed. The results indicate that nanoporous SBA-15 silicas functionalized with di and tetra carboxylic acid are desirable adsorbents for copper ions removal.


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