Phosphonated cross-linked polyethylenimine for selective removal of uranium ions from aqueous solutions

Saad, Dalia M. G.; Cukrowska, Ewa M.; Tutu, Hlanganani
July 2012
Water Science & Technology;2012, Vol. 66 Issue 1, p122
Academic Journal
Among many remediation techniques for metal ion removal, polymeric adsorbents are efficient and widely applied. This has made them comparable with other remediation techniques in terms of technical and economic efficiency, feasibility as well as green technology. This study was dedicated to the development of an insoluble modified chelating polymer for use as an adsorbent for abstraction of uranium from wastewaters. Cross-linked polyethylenimine (CPEI) was phosphonated by phosphorous acid for selective removal of uranium ions. The binding affinity of the phosphonated cross-linked polyethylenimine (PCPEI) to uranium ions was assessed as well as its ability to be regenerated for reuse. It exhibited high removal percentage for uranium ions up to 99% with high selectivity even in the presence of competing ions (Mn, Ni, As). The Freundlich isotherm was found to be the best fit describing the adsorption process of uranyl ions onto the PCPEI. The pseudo-secondorder equation was found to better explain the adsorption kinetics, implying chemisorption. The thermodynamic study of the adsorption revealed high activation energies which confirmed the chemisorption as the mechanism of adsorption.


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