Environmental catalysis and materials

Adsorption of lead on multi-walled carbon nanotubes with different outer diameters and oxygen contents: Kinetics, isotherms and thermodynamics

Fei Yu , Yanqing Wu , Jie Ma , Chi Zhang


Received March 01, 2012,Revised June 26, 2012, Accepted , Available online January 11, 2013

Volume ,2013,Pages 195-203

The effects of different outer diameters and surface oxygen contents on the adsorption of heavy metals onto six types of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were investigated in an aqueous solution and lead was chosen as a model metal ion. The results indicated that the percentage removal and adsorption capacity of lead remarkably increased with decreasing outer diameter due to larger specific surface area (SSA). The SSA-normalized maximum adsorption capacity (qm/SSA) and SSA-normalized adsorption coefficient (Kd/SSA) were strongly positively correlated with surface oxygen content, implying that lead adsorption onto MWCNTs significantly increases with the rise of oxygen content and decreases with decreasing SSA. The calculated thermodynamic parameters indicated that adsorption of lead on MWCNTs was endothermic and spontaneous. When the oxygen content of MWCNTs increased from 2.0% to 5.9%, the standard free energy (ΔG0) became more negative, which implied that the oxygenated functional groups increased the adsorption affinity of MWCNTs for lead. Through calculation of enthalpy (ΔH0), ΔG0 and free energy of adsorption (Ea), lead adsorption onto MWCNTs was recognized as a chemisorption process. The chemical interaction between lead and the phenolic groups of MWCNTs could be one of the main adsorption mechanisms due to highly positive correlations between the phenolic groups and Kd/SSA or qm/SSA.

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