Researchers at Tarbiat Modarres University, Department of Environmental Science in Iran succeeded in synthesizing a type of mesoporous nanoparticles to adsorb environmental pollutants with high efficiency and recyclability.
Habibollah Younesi, whose main area of expertise lies in heavy metal ions removal from industrial wastewaters and the environment, applied nanotechnology to improve pollutant removal efficiencies and mesoporous adsorbents to recover metals out of industrial wastewaters.
Younesi, who is also the head of Department of Environmental Science, prepared MCM-41 through a hydrothermal process and synthesized its nanoparticles by sol-gel method. Silicon oxide and CTAB were used as precursor and surface active agent respectively.
At the end of the process, the surfactant was extracted from the MCM-41 structure at a specific temperature and MCM-41 was functionalized with organic precursor 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane.
The adsorption experiments were conducted with 4 different adsorbents namely MCM-41, NH2-MCM-41, MCM-41 nanoparticles, NH2-MCM-41 nanoparticles and influential parameters like adsorbent dose, initial metallic ions concentration, contact time and pH of the solution were fully investigated.
“The removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions is a challenging problem in wastewater treatment issues. Such ions, when exposed to the environment, accumulate in food chain for long times," Younesi explained to the News Service of INIC.
"This endangers our heath and environment severely. On the other hand, removal and recovery of such metals are economically profitable thanks to their relative scarcity and high prices,” he added.
More details on this research work are available in the Chemical Engineering Journal, volume 153, pages 70 to 79, 2009.