Adsorption of divalent metals to metal oxide nanoparicles: Competitive and temperature effects




Grover, Valerie Ann

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The presence of metals in natural waters is becoming a critical environmental and public health concern. Emerging nanotechnology and the use of metal oxide nanoparticles has been identified as a potential remediation technique in removing metals from water. However, practical applications are still being explored to determine how to apply their unique chemical and physical properties for full scale remediation projects.

This thesis investigates the sorption properties of Cd(II), Cu(II), Pb(II) and Zn(II) to hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles in single- and binary-adsorbate systems. Competitive sorption was evaluated in 1L batch binary-metal systems with 0.05g/L nano-hematite at pH 8.0 and pH 6.0. Results indicate that the presence of a secondary metal can affect the sorption process depending upon the molar ratios, such as increased or reduced adsorption. Thermodynamic properties were also studied in order to better understand the effects of temperature on equilibrium and kinetic adsorption capabilities. Understanding the thermodynamic properties can also give insight to determine if the sorption process is a physical, chemical or ion exchange reaction. Thermodynamic parameters such as enthalpy (DeltaH), entropy (DeltaS), and Gibbs free energy (DeltaG) were evaluated as a function of temperature, pH, and metal concentration. Results indicate that Pb(II) and Cu(II) adsorption to nano-hematite was an endothermic and physical adsorption process, while Zn(II) and Cd(II) adsorption was dependent upon the adsorbed concentration evaluated. However, metal adsorptions to nano-titanium dioxide were all found to be endothermic and physical adsorption processes; the spontaneity of metal adsorption was temperature dependent for both metal oxide nanoparticles.


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Adsorption, Nanoparticles



Civil and Environmental Engineering