Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol.223, 53-62, 2012
Aminopropyl-modified mesoporous silica SBA-15 as recovery agents of Cu(II)-sulfate solutions: Adsorption efficiency, functional stability and reusability aspects
Hybrid mesoporous materials are potentially useful for metal ion scavenging and retrieval because of their high surface areas, controlled accessibility and tailored functionalization. Some aspects that are linked to the performance of HMM include pore accessibility, stability of the organic functions and reusability. Knowledge of these aspects is critical in the design of adsorption-desorption protocols. In this work we produce and characterize propylamino-substituted large pore silica (SBA-15-N), which is submitted to Cu(II) adsorption from copper sulfate solutions, followed by desorption in acid media and material regeneration. We find that the hybrid material is an efficient adsorbent (1.15-1.75 mmol Cu(II)g(-1)), although a fraction of the organic groups is lost during the adsorption process. An X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) study demonstrates that the contents of amino groups are higher in the material surface, leading to different behaviors in Cu(II) complexation along the material. These materials can be regenerated by exposure to acidic media. Thermal processing of the hybrid materials leads to better durability in aqueous solutions during reprocessing, due to enhanced polycondensation of the inorganic framework. Thermally treated samples, once regenerated, are efficient adsorbents in a second step of Cu(II) adsorption. We discuss the materials processing factors involved in the improved adsorption of Cu(II), its quantitative release and reusability of the material. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.