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Sci Total Environ. 2013 Jul 1;456-457:171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.082. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Adsorption of Pb²⁺, Cd²⁺, Cu²⁺ and Cr³⁺ onto titanate nanotubes: competition and effect of inorganic ions.

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Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Heavy Metal Pollution Control and Reutilization, School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China.


Adsorption of Pb(2+), Cd(2+), Cu(2+) and Cr(3+) from aqueous solutions onto titanate nanotubes (TNTs) in multiple systems was systematically studied. Particular attention was paid to competitive adsorption and the effect of inorganic ions. TNTs showed large adsorption capacity for the four heavy metals, with the mechanism of ion-exchange between metal ions and H(+)/Na(+) located in the interlayers of TNTs. Binary or quaternary competitive adsorption indicated that the adsorption capacity of the four heavy metals onto TNTs followed the sequence of Pb(2+) (2.64 mmol g(-1)) ≫ Cd(2+) (2.13 mmol g(-1)) > Cu(2+) (1.92 mmol g(-1)) ≫ Cr(3+) (1.37 mmol g(-1)), which followed the reverse order of their hydration energies. Moreover, inorganic ions including Na(+), K(+), Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) inhibited the adsorption of heavy metals on TNTs, because they competed for adsorption sites, decreased the activity of heavy metal ions, and promoted the aggregation of TNTs. However, Al(3+) and Fe(3+) generally enhanced adsorption because the resulting hydroxyl-Al/Fe intercalated or coated TNTs could also capture metal ions. Furthermore, minor effect of inorganic ions on adsorption of Pb(2+) resulted from its strong affinity to TNTs. Difficult desorption and small inhibiting effect by Na(+), K(+), Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) on adsorption of Cr(3+) was due to the formed stable complex of HOCr(OTi)₂ ≡ with TNTs. Present study indicated potential applications of TNTs in wastewater treatment for heavy metals.

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