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Chemosphere. 2006 Aug;64(6):963-71. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Role of surface functionality in the adsorption of anionic dyes on modified polymeric sorbents.

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Department of Environmental Science and Technology, East China Normal University, 3663 Zhongshan Road North, Shanghai 200062, People's Republic of China.


While synthetic polymeric sorbents effectively treat dye wastewaters by adsorption, the underlying mechanisms remain to be understood. This work determined the adsorption of an anionic dye by three polymers differing significantly in surface functionality. Surface functional groups of polymers were indicated in FTIR spectra and quantified by the Boehm titration. In reference to the commercial sorbent XAD-4 with a low degree of functionality, the laboratory synthesized NG-8 had primarily acidic functional groups, whereas its aminated product MN-8 had mainly basic amino groups. Electrophoresis determined the points of zero charge of 4.18, 3.23, and 4.51 for XAD-4, NG-8, and MN-8, respectively. The adsorption of Reactive Black 5 dye (RB5) by all the sorbents on a unit surface area basis increased with decreasing pH. At the same low pH (4.40), the adsorption by NG-8 was similar to that by XAD-4, indicating little influence of protonated (neutral) surface functional groups. In contrast, the adsorption by NG-8 at pH 6.05 was 75% lower than that by XAD-4, resulting apparently from the strong electrostatic repulsion between RB5 and deprotonated (negative) groups. Amination substantially enhanced RB5 adsorption by eliminating acidic groups and creating a positive charge on the surface of MN-8. The adsorptive enhancement was also achieved in the presence of CaCl2, due presumably to the neutralization of negative surface charge by Ca2+ and the RB5-Ca2+ pairing. These results manifest the important role of surface functionality in the adsorption of dyes by synthetic polymers.

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