FUNCTIONALIZED HALLOYSITE NANOTUBES FOR ENHANCED REMOVAL OF Hg2+ IONS FROM AQUEOUS SOLUTIONS

Alberto Pettignano, Marina Massaro, Serena Riela, Salvatore Cataldo, Francesco Crea, Francesco Crea, Demetrio Milea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Water is essential for humans, animals, and plants; pollutants, usually derived from anthropogenic activities, can have a serious effect on its quality. Heavy metals are significant pollutants and are often highly toxic to living organisms, even at very low concentrations. Among the numerous removal techniques proposed, adsorption onto suitable adsorbent materials is considered to be one of the most promising. The objective of the current study was to determine the effectiveness of halloysite nanotubes (HNT) functionalized with organic amino or thiol groups as adsorbent materials to decontaminate polluted waters, using the removal of Hg2+ ions, one of the most dangerous heavy metals, as the test case. The effects of pH, ionic strength (I), and temperature of the metal ion solution on the adsorption ability and affinity of both materials were evaluated. To this end, adsorption experiments were carried out with no ionic medium and in NaNO3 and NaCl at I = 0.1 mol L−1, in the pH range 3–5 and in the temperature range 283.15–313.15 K. Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of adsorption were considered by measuring the metal ion concentrations in aqueous solution. Various equations were used to fit experimental data, and the results obtained were explained on the basis of both the adsorbent’s characterization and the Hg2+ speciation under the given experimental conditions. Thiol and amino groups enhanced the adsorption capability of halloysite for Hg2+ ions in the pH range 3–5. The pH, the ionic medium, and the ionic strength of aqueous solution all play an important role in the adsorption process. A physical adsorption mechanism enhanced by ion exchange is proposed for both functionalized materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalClays and Clay Minerals
Volume69
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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