Mercury(II) and lead(II) ions removal using a novel thiol-rich hydrogel adsorbent; PHPAm/Fe3O4@SiO2-SH polymer nanocomposite.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2023 Jan; 30(5):13605-13623.ES
The abundant release of toxic heavy metals into wastewater has been a serious threat to human health, aquatic environments, plants, and animals; thus, it is critical to purify wastewater of these pollutants through a proper treatment process. A novel hydrogel compound was synthesized using partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (PHPAm) and functionalized Fe3O4-coated magnetic nanoparticles (PHPAm/Fe3O4@SiO2-SH) that is efficient in removal of mercury and lead from wastewater. This new magnetic nanoadsorbent is characterized using scanning electron microscope, Fourier-transform infrared, thermogravimetric analysis, vibrating sample magnetometer, and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. The central composite design under response surface methodology (CCD-RSM) was applied in designing the experiments to optimize the main parameters affecting the adsorption capacity: initial concentration (77.50 mg L-1), pH (6.11 and 6.48), adsorbent dosage (25 mg), and contact time (115 and 106 min) for both Hg2+ and Pb2+ adsorption, respectively. Quadratic models were used for variable predictions and analysis of variance was applied to evaluate the statistical parameters and investigate the interactions of the variables. The high determination coefficient (R2 0.99) for both metals indicates a good correlation between actual and predicted response values. Additionally, thermodynamic modeling showed an endothermic and exothermic for Hg2+ and Pb2+, respectively, and also the spontaneous nature of both metals' adsorption process within the temperature range of 288-318 K. Mercury and lead kinetic studies were in agreement with pseudo-second-order modeling, and the equilibrium results revealed that the Langmuir isotherm best fit the experimental data with maximum adsorption capacities of 256.41 and 227.27 (mg g-1) for Hg2+ and Pb2+, respectively. Overall, PHPAm/Fe3O4@SiO2-SH is thought to have highly promising potential for investigating heavy metals in wastewater treatment, and will make important contributions to similar studies that may be conducted in the future.