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J Environ Sci (China). 2013 May 1;25(5):933-43.

Adsorption of heavy metal ions from aqueous solution by carboxylated cellulose nanocrystals.

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  • 1Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable and Stable Species, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.


A novel nanoadsorbent for the removal of heavy metal ions is reported. Cotton was first hydrolyzed to obtain cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). CNCs were then chemically modified with succinic anhydride to obtain SCNCs. The sodic nanoadsorbent (NaSCNCs) was further prepared by treatment of SCNCs with saturated NaHCO3 aqueous solution. Batch experiments were carried out with SCNCs and NaSCNCs for the removal of Pb2+ and Cd2+. The effects of contact time, pH, initial adsorption concentration, coexisting ions and the regeneration performance were investigated. Kinetic studies showed that the adsorption equilibrium time of Pb2+ and Cd2+ was reached within 150 min on SCNCs and 5 min on NaSCNCs. The adsorption capacities of Pb2+ and Cd2+ on SCNCs and NaSCNCs increased with increasing pH. The adsorption isotherm was well fitted by the Langmuir model. The maximum adsorption capacities of SCNCs and NaSCNCs for Pb2+ and Cd2+ were 367.6 mg/g, 259.7 mg/g and 465.1 mg/g, 344.8 mg/g, respectively. SCNCs and NaSCNCs showed high selectivity and interference resistance from coexisting ions for the adsorption of Pb2+. NaSCNCs could be efficiently regenerated with a mild saturated NaCl solution with no loss of capacity after two recycles. The adsorption mechanisms of SCNCs and NaSCNCs were discussed.

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