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The adsorption behavior of metals in aqueous solution by microplastics effected by UV radiation

Wang, Qiongjie, Zhang, Yong, Wangjin, Xiaoxue, Wang, Yulai, Meng, Guanhua, Chen, Yihua
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2020 v.87 pp. 272-280
adsorption, aqueous solutions, copper, heavy metals, metal ions, microplastics, oxygen, pH, polyethylene terephthalates, surface area, temperature, ultraviolet radiation, zinc
Microplastics are considered as the carrier to heavy metals in the environment. But the sorption ability of microplastics influenced by photo-aging is remaining unclear. In the present study, the sorption of two kinds of metal ions (Cu2+ and Zn2+) in the aqueous solution by both the virgin and aged microplastics was investigated. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) debris, one of the typical kinds of microplastics was chosen in this study. Photo-aging of microplastics in environment was simulated using UV radiation in the laboratory. Date analysis indicated that the aged microplastics had higher adsorption capacity of heavy metals than original ones. This could be related to the increased surface area and oxygen containing function appeared in the surface of aged microplastics after UV radiation. When prolonging the time of radiation, the enhanced adsorption capacities of microplastics appeared for Cu2+ and Zn2+. These results showed a great interaction between the aging degree of plastics and sorption capacity to heavy metals. Meanwhile, external conditions including temperature and pH value were also showed great influence to the adsorption behavior.