DOI: 10.3390/gels10030192 ISSN: 2310-2861

Chitosan–Silica Composite Aerogel for the Adsorption of Cupric Ions

João P. Vareda, Pedro M. C. Matias, José A. Paixão, Dina Murtinho, Artur J. M. Valente, Luisa Durães
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering

A chitosan–silica hybrid aerogel was synthesized and presented as a potential adsorbent for the purification of cupric ion-contaminated media. The combination of the organic polymer (chitosan), which can be obtained from fishery wastes, with silica produced a mostly macroporous material with an average pore diameter of 33 µm. The obtained aerogel was extremely light (56 kg m−3), porous (96% porosity, 17 cm3 g−1 pore volume), and presented a Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface area (SBET) of 2.05 m2 g−1. The effects of solution pH, aerogel and Cu(II) concentration, contact time, and counterion on cupric removal with the aerogel were studied. Results showed that the initial pH of the cation-containing aqueous solution had very little influence on the removal performance of this aerogel. According to Langmuir isotherm, this material can remove a maximum amount of ca. 40 mg of cupric ions per gram and the kinetic data showed that the surface reaction was the rate-limiting step and equilibrium was quickly reached (in less than one hour). Thus, the approach developed in this study enabled the recovery of waste for the preparation of a novel material, which can be efficiently reused in a new application, namely water remediation.

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