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Application of sodium titanate nanofibers as constructed wetland fillers for efficient removal of heavy metal ions from wastewater

Zhao, Min, Wang, Sen, Wang, Hongsheng, Qin, Peirui, Yang, Dongjiang, Sun, Yuanyuan, Kong, Fanlong
Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 938-946
X-ray diffraction, adsorbents, adsorption, cadmium, constructed wetlands, copper, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, epoxides, heavy metals, lead, metal ions, models, nanofibers, pH, pollution, porosity, raw materials, scanning electron microscopy, sewage treatment, sodium, sorption isotherms, spectroscopy, temperature, toxicity, wastewater, zeolites, zinc
Constructed wetlands are an environmentally friendly and economically efficient sewage treatment technology, with fillers playing an important role in treatment processes. However, traditional wetland fillers (e.g. zeolite) are known to be imperfect because of their low adsorption capacity. In this paper, the adsorbent sodium titanate nano fillers (T3-F) was synthesized as an alternative to traditional filler with sodium titanate nanofibers (T3) as the raw material, epoxy adhesive as the adhesive agent and NH₄HCO₃ as the pore-making agent. The properties of T3-F were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), porosity. The effect of different parameters such as pH, co-existing ions, contact time, initial metal ion concentrations and temperature was investigated for heavy metal adsorption. The results showed that the adsorption of heavy metal by T3-F followed the pseudo-second-order kinetic and Langmuir isotherm models. The maximum adsorption capacities for Cu²⁺, Pb²⁺, Zn²⁺, Cd²⁺ were about 1.5–1.98 mmol/g, which were 4–5 times that of zeolite, the traditional commonly used filler. Moreover, T3-F could entrap toxic ions irreversibly and maintain structural stability in the adsorption process, which solved the issue of secondary pollution. In the presence of competing ions, the adsorption efficiency for Pb²⁺ was not reduced significantly. Adsorption was strongest at high pH. From the results and characterization, an adsorption mechanism was suggested. This study lays a foundation for the practical application of T3-F as a constructed wetland filler in the future.