Synthesis of gelatin-cellulose hydrogel membrane for copper and cobalt removal from synthetic wastewater

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Lukusa, Tresor Kabeya
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Vaal University of Technology
Heavy metal ions are one of the most toxic materials in the environment. Adsorption is the most used process for the removal of heavy metals from wastewater. Much research has been conducted into processes to remove heavy metals using different adsorbents. Various adsorbents have been used to remove heavy metal ions from wastewater especially those that are harmful to mankind. Zeolite, clay, activated carbon and biopolymers are the most common adsorbents used. In this research, gelatin, and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were used to synthesize a hydrogel membrane to remove Cu(II) and Co(II) metal ions from mining processes wastewater. The synthetic wastewater was prepared in the laboratory to conduct the experiments. Batch experiments were conducted to obtain the optimum conditions for the Cu(II) and Co(II) metal ions. The effect of parameters such as pH, ratio, contact time, and temperature were also determined. The optimum conditions obtained were 120 min contact time for both metal ions at the temperature of 30oC, pH 5 for copper and pH 7 for cobalt. The high removal of both metals ions was obtained using the ratio 3:1 (75% Gelatin and 25% CNCs) at the temperature of 303K. The maximum adsorption capacity of Cu(II) and Co(II) was 7.6923 mg/g and 10.988 mg/g, respectively. The high percentage removal of Cu(II) and Co(II) metal ions obtained was found to be 70.5% for Cu(II) at pH 5 and 74.5% for Co(II) at pH 7. The experimental data fit well to Pseudo-first-order kinetic and Freundlich isotherm models (KF= 1.89x103 mg/g for copper and 3.7x102 mg/g for cobalt) for both metal ions. The values of energy (E) from D-R model have shown that the adsorption of both metal ions was of physical nature (E<8kJ/mol) then confirmed by the thermodynamic results (ΔH°). The kinetic diffusion models have shown that the experimental data fit well with the film diffusion (R2= 0.977 and 0.989) for both metal ions at pH 5. Negative values of ΔG°obtained for both metal ions indicate that the adsorption process was spontaneous. The positive values of ΔH° obtained showed a physical adsorption process and also indicate that the adsorption process of both metal ions was endothermic. The positive values of ΔS° indicate an increase in randomness at the solid/solution interface during adsorption.
M. Tech. (Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology), Vaal University of Technology.
Adsorption, Cellulose nanocrystals, Copper and Cobalt removal, Gelatin-Cellulose Hydrogel Membrane